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Faculty


Research Faculty


Almeida.jpg Sandra Almeida, PhD
 assistant professor
Dr. Almeida’s primary focus is elucidating the molecular mechanisms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer disease (AD). Her main strategy employs patient-derived, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines to generate disease-relevant neuronal cells. This allows modeling of patient-derived neurons in the appropriate differentiated context, providing an enriched understanding of how ALS/FTD mutations impact cellular physiology to effect their pathogenic consequences, enabling testing of potential therapeutic interventions aimed at halting the progression of these diseases.

Bosco.jpg Daryl Bosco, PhD
 associate professor
Elucidating the factors involved in sporadic ALS and investigating protein misfunction associated with neurodegenerative disease.

dominov-janice2.jpg
 Janice Dominov, PhD
 assistant professor
Investigates neuromuscular disease with an emphasis on muscular dystrophies, cell death mechanisms, inflammatory pathway regulation and therapeutics for muscular dystrophies.

Emerson.jpg Charles Emerson, PhD
 professor
The Emerson Lab investigates skeletal muscle development and disease. Research has focused on defining transcriptional networks and signaling pathways that control the specification and differentiation of skeletal muscle progenitors in the developing embryo. Current studies utilize iPSC and xenograft technologies to  model the molecular pathology of facioscapulohumeral (FSHD) and LGMD2i  muscular dystrophies to develop gene editing, RNA and small molecule therapeutics to treat these diseases.

Esteves.jpg
 Miguel Esteves, PhD
 associate professor
Dr. Esteves is a neuroscientist with interested in gene therapy to help treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Gao.jpg Fen-Biao Gao, PhD - Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research
 professor
Our lab uses a combination of molecular, cellular, genetic, and behavioral approaches to further dissect the pathogenic mechanisms of Frontotemporal Dementia and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis with a focus on mutant CHMP2B, progranulin and C9ORF72. We will identify common underlying pathways as potential targets for therapeutic interventions. To this end, multiple experimental systems will be utilized, including Drosophila, mouse models, and patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. 

Lisa Hall.png Lisa L. Hall-Anderson, PhD
 associate professor
Lisa Hall is a co-investigator with Jeanne Lawrence on numerous research projects pertaining to nuclear structure and epigenetic regulation of the genome. Lisa’s main research interest is studying how long non-coding RNAs interact with chromatin, the functional importance of the repeat genome in gene regulation and nuclear structure, as well as our ongoing project silencing the extra chromosome 21 in Down syndrome patient cells using targeted integration of an XIST transgene. Lisa was also the assistant director for the human medical genetics course here at UMMS from 2002-2010, and she continues to teach and help administer the course.

Hayward.jpg Lawrence Hayward, PhD
 professor
Motor Neuron Disease Mechanisms; Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis: a Muscle Ion Channel Disorder.

Henninger.jpg Nils Henninger, PhD
 associate professor
Dr. Henninger is a vascular neurologist with a strong research interest in the neurobiology of axonal injury associated with traumatic brain injury and ischemic stroke and its contribution to functional outcome.

King O.jpg Oliver King, PhD
 assistant professor
Dr. King is a computational biologist, with research interests in algorithm development and the analysis of high-throughput datasets.  As part of a Wellstone Center focusing on facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) he studies transcriptional and epigenetic changes associated with disease, and genetic modifiers of disease severity. He has also worked on automated behavioral analysis of mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases, and on proteins with "prion-like" domains, several of which have been implicated in ALS and multi-system proteinopathy.

Landers.jpg
 John Landers, PhD
 professor
Genetics of familial and sporadic ALS

Jeanne-Lawrence.jpg Jeanne Lawrence, PhD
 professor
Lawrence lab research bridges fundamental questions of developmental epigenetics with translational research into the common problem of chromosome abnormalities, particularly Down Syndrome. Having initially developed FISH technology to detect single-genes and nuclear RNAs in cells, her work revealed that genes are organized in nuclear compartments, and that an unprecedented non-coding RNA, XIST, structurally coats the inactive X-chromosome.   Using cytological, molecular and genomic approaches, the lab continues fundamental studies of lncRNA function and chromosome regulation.   In addition, a major focus is to harness the epigenetic power of XIST as an experimental approach, in human stem cells and mice, to understand how Trisomy 21 impacts neural development, as well as to investigate the prospects for development of XIST-based “chromosome therapies”. Down Syndrome is now understood to be a form of early-onset Alzheimer Disease, hence ongoing studies have direct relevance for Alzheimer Disease and aging more broadly.