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Molecular Medicine Faculty Research Interests

Section of Molecular Medicine Researchers Cristina Furdui and Revati Wani at Mass Spectrometer

Molecular Medicine Faculty


Furdui, Cristina, PhD 
Research Interests: The Furdui laboratory is interested in applying chemical, computational and advanced systems biology methodologies to investigate the molecular mechanisms linking redox balance to disease development and treatment. Specifically, the laboratory focuses on: 1] Development of Chemical Approaches for the Quantitative Analysis of Protein Thiol Oxidative Modifications; 2] The Implications of Akt2 Redox-regulation in Radiation-associated Diabetes and Muscle Function in Aging, and 3] Head and Neck Cancer Prevention, Treatment and Improvement of Quality of Life. Chemical and analytical methods developed in the context of these projects are further applied to a number of collaborative studies investigating redox effects in aging, kidney disease, inflammation, sepsis and others. Lab Page

Chia-Chi Chuang Key, PhD
Research Interests: Studying how different lipid species and nutrient compositions are causally linked to the development of metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease, in the genetic or dietary intervention animal models

Liu, Mingxia, PhD
Research Interests:  Lipid and energy metabolism physiology and pathophysiology in metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes
Metabolism of lipids (TG, cholesterol and sphingolipids) and lipoproteins (HDL and VLDL); metabolic functions of sphingosine-1-phosphate and its carrier apoM in inflammatory diseases (atherosclerosis and sepsis); nicotine consumption in energy metabolism.

Liu, Tie Fu, MD, PhD 

Research Interests: Immunometabolic interaction of acute inflammation: from mechanism to therapy
Understanding molecular mechanism(s) involved in gene silencing and immunosuppression during severe systemic inflammation (SSI), generation of new therapeutic interventions or preventions to improve poor SSI outcomes.  Experimental studies are focused on the epigenetic regulation and gene remodeling of proinflammatory cytokines during the initiation, adaptation and, especially, resolution of SSI; and on the interplay between the energy change and members of sirtuin family and NFk-B family in a THP-1 cell model and an animal model.

McCall, Charles E., MD 
Research Interests: Molecular signaling pathways that direct acute inflammation from sepsis; nutrient balance of mitochondrial function; bioenergy shifts during mouse and human sepsis; sepsis epigenetic reprogramming; molecular therapeutic targets in acute inflammation; balancing glycolysis with fatty acid metabolism in inflammation; redox control of  sirtuins; Sirtuin family interactions; RELB NFkB factor in sepsis; immunometabolism.

Parks, John S., PhD 
Teaching Interests: Lipoprotein Metabolism and Structure, Lipoprotein Modifying Enzymes.
Research Interests: High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Formation and Catabolism, Molecular Mechanisms by which Lecithin:Colesterol Acyltransferase (LCAT) Prevents Atheroschlerosis, Molecular Mechanisms by which Botanical Oils and Fish Oil Impact Atheroscherosis and Inflammation. Lab Page

Rudel, Lawrence, PhD  
Teaching Interests: Disturbances in Plasma Lipoprotein Metabolism, Cholesterol Biosynthesis and Metabolism, Atheroschlerosis and Nutrition, Pathophysiology of Cholesterol and Bile Acids.
Research Interests: Nutrition in Atherosclerosis, Dietary Fatty Acids in Cardiovascular Disease, Hepatic Cholesterol Metabolism and Gene Regulation, Primate Liver Perfusion, Plasma Lipoprotein Metabolism, Cholesterol Ester Formation. Lab Page 

Seeds, Michael C., PhD 
Research Interests: Inflammation and host defense in the lung; regulation and function of secretory phospholipases A2; differential regulation of granulocyte apoptosis

Solberg Woods, Leah, PhD
Research Interests: Genetics of type 2 diabetes and obesity using outbred rat models. My laboratory is interested in identifying genes involved in type 2 diabetes (T2D) using rat models. T2D is a growing health problem with 347 million people affected worldwide. Prevalence in the United States is expected to more than double by 2050.  We are using a genetic rat model, outbred heterogeneous stock (HS) rats, to identify relatively small chromosomal regions that play a role in diabetes related phenotypes. HS rats are outbred from eight inbred rat strains such that the chromosomal make-up of the progeny is a mosaic of the founding inbred strains. This enables the mapping of chromosomal loci to only 2-4 Megabases, significantly decreasing the number of possible candidate genes within each region.  Once genetic regions are identified, we use expression and sequence analysis to identify underlying causal genes.

St. Clair, Richard W., PhD (Emeritus) - Understanding the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, with an emphasis on the cell biology and biochemistry of the progression and regression of atherosclerotic lesions, and the mechanisms by which plasma lipoproteins and other risk factors alter the development of this disease.

Tsang, Allen, PhD 
Research Interests: A Systematic Approach to Evaluate the Infectious Etiology of Cancer
My laboratory uses a combination of molecular assays, high-throughput omics and imaging technologies to understand chlamydial interaction with the infected host and to investigate the contribution of chlamydial co-infection with HPV to Cervical, Breast and Head and Neck cancer. My long-term goal is to design and develop interventional and therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat chlamydial infections and chlamydial associated diseases (e.g., cancer, lung infections, heart disease and reactive arthritis). In particular, in recent years, we began to investigate the mechanisms by which Chlamydia trachomatis mediates tumor development and metastasis and identified a critical role of EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) in this process. A provisional patent “Methods and Compositions for Treatment of Chlamydial Infection and Related Diseases” was filed in 2013 by Wake Forest Innovations based on the invention disclosure 14-30WF “Target Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) in Chlamydia Infections and Chlamydia-associated Diseases”.  Projects 

Yadav, Hariom, PhD
Research Interests: Deciphering molecular mechanism(s) involved in gut microbiome dysbiosis and its metabolites mediated pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes via modulation of gut-brain axis. 
My group is focusing on research projects related to ‘The role of gut microbiome and its modulators on metabolic health’ i.e. 1) Contribution of gut microbiome and virome on gut-brain axis to regulate energy metabolism, 2) Development of butyrate producing probiotics and prebiotics to ameliorate metabolic diseases, and 3) Establishing microbiome-drug interactions to modulate host metabolism and drug efficacy. In past my work involved in interaction of different metabolic organs to regulate whole body energy homeostasis in amelioration of obesity and diabetes (Lin et al, 2009, JBC, Kim et al, EMBO J; Yadav et al, 2011, Cell Metabolism and Yadav et al 2013, JBC). Currently, we are interested in how gut microbiome/ virome uses diverse machineries of metabolic organs that confer unlike properties on the host metabolism – for instance energy intake and energy expenditure. We are using modern technologies i.e. metagenomic analysis, bioinformatic pipelines, cell culture systems, microbiological systems, transgenic and germ-free mice models with gut flora transplantation and metabolic phenotyping approaches to address our hypotheses. 

Yammani, Raghunatha, PhD
Research Interests: S100 proteins and cartilage physiology; Role of S100A4 in the development of osteoarthritis

Zhu, Xuewei, PhD
Research Interests: Lipid metabolism and immune cell fundtion and their roles in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases. Lab Page

Center for Precision Medicine

Yong Joo Ahn, MD - Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Chronic monocyte metabolic stress and protein-S-glutathionylation in atherosclerosis and metabolic disorders. Understanding the molecular mechanism of protein-S-glutathionylation in macrophages. 

Reto Herbert Rudolf Asmis, PhD - Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Associate Director of Education, Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: CVD, Inflammation, Mouse models, Biochemistry
Monocyte and macrophage biology, molecular mechanism underlying monocyte “priming”, re-programming and dysfunction induced by metabolic stress, (thiol) redox biology and redox signaling, nutritional biochemistry and development of novel phytochemical-based strategies for the prevention of atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetic complications; development of molecular imaging reagents targeting macrophage subsets to monitor vascular inflammation and diseases. 

Jeannie Chan, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: CVD, Genomics

Laura Cox, PhD - Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Associate Director, Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: CVC, Genomics, Integrated Omics, Primate models. 
Identification of genetic variation that influences cardiovascular disease risk; genetic response of the primate fetal kidney to maternal undernutrition; genetic and epigenetic response of the primate fetus and placenta to maternal undernutrition; development of NHP genetic and genomic resources; use of integrated omic methods to identify functional variation that impacts health and disease.

Hector Guillen, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Cancer, Genomics
Understanding DNA-protein interactions and their effect on gene expression regulation. Genomic and proteomic analyses in lung and colorectal cancers. 

Biswapriya Misra, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Metabolomics, Integrated Omics

Michael Olivier, PhD – Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Director, Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Multi-Omics Analysis of Human Complex Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disorders
Our laboratory develops tools and analytical approaches to study the pathophysiology and cellular changes contributing to the development and progression of a wide range of obesity-related disorders that develop with advanced age, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, and dyslipidemia. We use genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and computational tools to profile and analyze molecular changes in cells and tissues, correlate them to DNA sequence differences, and try to develop experimental approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms how changes in the DNA sequence ultimately lead to cellular dysfunction. We use sequencing, gene expression analysis, mass spectrometry (for proteomics and metabolomics), and advanced genomics assays to examine the complex regulation of cellular metabolic pathways, how they are perturbed in obesity and its co-morbidities, and how they change over time.

Sobha Puppala, PhD – Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Statistical Genetics, Bioinformatics

Ellen Quillen, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Statistical Genetics, Integrated Omics

Kimberly Reeves, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Genomics, Microbiome

Tony Reeves, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine; Center for Precision Medicine
Research Interests: Biochemistry, Microbial Proteogenomics

Molecular Medicine Joint Appointment Faculty

Groban, Leanne, MD - Professor of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology. Research interests- aging, cardiac function, fitness/physical, trangenics, women's health issues. 

Hoth, James Jason, MD, PhD - Associate Professor of General Surgery. Research interests - critical/intensive medicine, drugs/therapeutic agents pharm, education/training. 

Kavanagh, Kylie, DVM, MS, MPH -  Assistant Professor, Pathology-Comparative Medicine. Research interests include general investigations of metabolic syndrome and its determinants using non-human primate models. Specific areas of focus include 1) insulin resistance and diabetes development 2) aging and cellular stress resistance/chaperone proteins 3) nutritional effects of varying fat and carbohydrate type on metabolism 3) intestinal motility and integrity as a determinant of health and function in aging 4) chronic effects of radiation exposure on body composition and metabolic disease 5) sarcopenia and physical function 6) gut-brain interactions in Alzheimer’s disease risk. 

Donald A. McClain, MD, PhD - Professor of Internal Medicine-Section on Endocrinology and Metabolism; Director, Center on Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism - Research Interests: Structure and function of the insulin receptor; Metabolic signaling by the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway mediated by protein O-linked glycosylation; Prevalence and mechanism of diabetes in hereditary hemochromatosis; Effects of dietary iron on diabetes risk; Hypoxia and metabolism.

Vachharajani, Vidula, MD- Associate Professor of Critical Care. Research interests - critical/intensive care medicine, immunology/allergy/inflammation, infectious disease, metabolism, obesity.

Wang, Hao, MD, PhD - Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology. Research interest- Aging, estrogen, GPR30, skeletal muscle, cardiac function. Research interests include the roles of the novel estrogen receptor, GPR30, in the maintenance of both cardiac and skeletal muscle structure and function during aging.

Yoza, Barbara, PhD- Assistant Professor, General Surgery. Research Interests-  Deciphering the molecular events associated with the onset and progression of septic shock, particularly as it relates to the synthesis inflammatory mediators from cells of the blood

Molecular Medicine Adjunct Faculty

Connelly, Margery A., PhD

Om Tejendra Makwana, PhD - Adjunct Assistant Professor 

Mingxia Liu, PhD - Adjunct Assistant Professor

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Section of Molecular Medicine
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Kay Collare
Section of Molecular Medicine
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