About the Program
The Program in Molecular Medicine is an academic department of the University of Massachusetts Medical School with a highly collaborative faculty of basic bio-medical and physician scientists. Its mission is to conduct breakthrough research, and to excel in teaching and service. Molecular Medicine fully occupies a modern 80,000 sq foot research building on the Medical School campus, and includes additional faculty appointments from programs such as Gene Function and Expression and Cell Dynamics. Scientific development of Molecular Medicine has been based on assembling outstanding investigators with overlapping scientific interests in fundamental mechanisms of physiological processes and their associated diseases.
Molecular Medicine accomplishments in research have been recognized by the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Craig Mello (shared with Andrew Fire of Stanford), the 2008 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award to Victor Ambros (shared with Gary Ruvkun of Harvard and David Baulcombe of Cambridge University), the 2007 Medical Foundation Basic Science Award to David Lambright, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator appointments to Michael Green, Roger Davis, and Craig Mello, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences (Mello and Ambros) and the Royal Society of London (Davis). Many other Molecular Medicine faculty have been recognized for outstanding contributions in their fields of specialty which include the 2009 Bensley Award in Cell Biology from the American Association of Anatomists to Greg Pazour, a W. M. Keck Foundation grant to Stephen Doxsey, a Pew Scholars award to Bert van den Berg, and an Ellison Medical Foundation grant awarded jointly to Heidi Tissenbaum and Marian Walhout.
Two major NIH funded Centers are led by Molecular Medicine faculty and include faculty from many departments of the Medical School. The Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) is directed by Mario Stevenson, providing key Core facilities and integrative scientific activities for its member scientists. The Diabetes and Endocrine Research Center (DERC) directed by Michael Czech and Dale Greiner provides pilot and feasibility grants, Core facilities and an enrichment program for its broad membership. These Centers represent large clusters of faculty at the Medical School working in these fields, providing a broad scope of approaches to basic and translational research in Diabetes and HIV research.
The Program in Molecular Medicine offers within its building a broad spectrum of state-of-the-art methodologies to its laboratory groups including deep sequencing, ultrafast 3D digital imaging microscopy (wide field and TIRF) of live cells, spinning disk confocal microscopy, x-ray crystallography, mouse metabolic phenotyping, mouse knockout technology and RNAi-based gene silencing in vitro and in vivo.
Medical School Core facilities also make available a large number of additional technologies such as FACS analysis, gene profiling using microarrays, proteomics and both shRNA and small molecule screening. Expertise in chemistry, structural biology, biochemistry, cell and developmental biology, molecular biology, cell signaling and regulation, genomics and proteomics, bioinformatics, genetics, immunology and virology is strongly represented in the Program in Molecular Medicine. Program faculty are also active in the teaching of these disciplines in both core and advanced courses for graduate and medical students.
Structural biology at the UMass Medical School is supported by state-of-the-art X-ray and NMR core facilities housed in the Program in Molecular Medicine and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. Diffraction instrumentation includes three rotating anode X-ray generators equipped with R-axis IV, Mar 300 and Mar 350 image plates detectors, Osmic focusing mirrors, and nitrogen cryostreams. NMR instrumentation includes 400 MHz and 600 MHz Varian spectrometers equipped for multidimensional homonuclear and heteronuclear experiments. Computational resources include graphics workstations and multiprocessor Beowulf clusters for data processing, image reconstruction, 3D visualization, model building, refinement, molecular dynamics, and structural bioinformatics. Please see link to PMM facilities and the x-ray core web site.
Molecular Medicine laboratory groups utilize many model organisms in their research, including yeast, worms, flies, mice and nonhuman primates. Translational research on human subjects is also vigorously pursued, often with collaborators in clinical departments. The laboratory groups in the Program are led by academic leaders in their respective fields of biology and medicine. The multidisciplinary nature of the Program has led to a significant number of collaborative publications by multiple laboratories. This is further enhanced by strong seminar and journal club activities as well as joint laboratory group meetings and NIH-funded program projects. Based on its success in research and teaching, the Program attracts large numbers of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists who in turn greatly enrich its scientific environment.