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Research

 


 
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Research

Some of the many research groups who use the Facility:

Bloss lab micrograph Bloss Lab

Protein mis-folding in neurodegeneration

The pathologies of most, if not all, neurodegenerative diseases involve stress to neurons that generates potentially lethal protein aggregations. To prevent or resolve these aggregations, all cells, including neurons, express specialized proteins called chaperones that regulate both de novo protein-folding and recuperative protein-folding in response to cell stress. We study such a chaperone called the nascent polypeptide-associated complex (NAC), the misregulation of which has been linked to neurodegeneration in humans.

Enke lab micrograph Enke Lab

Altered gene regulation and function in glaucoma

Transmitting visual stimulus from the retina to the brain is achieved by projection neurons known as retinal ganglion cells (RGC). Injury to RGCs leads to ocular neurodegenerative diseases such as glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. A common technique for studying gene-specific function in mice is through targeted mutation using the Cre/loxP recombinase system. One of our current projects focuses on determining optimal parameters for intravitreal delivery of a viral vector encoding this system specifically to murine RGCs. Additionally, we are interested in characterizing any toxic effects of Cre recombinase expression in murine RGCs. Collectively these data will be used to streamline an RGC-specific gene knockout strategy that can be applied to mouse injury models of glaucoma.

Gabriel lab micrograph Gabriele Lab

Auditory system neurological development

Numerous pathways in our brain connect an array of hearing centers, enabling them to talk with one another and share information regarding sounds in our environment. This ongoing communication is the responsibility of our auditory system, which provides us with our sense of hearing. The Gabriele lab seeks to understand the development and organization of these complex information highways that encode our sense of hearing. Of particular interest is understanding (1) when auditory circuits are established, (2) how these pathways develop their characteristic organization, and (3) what developmental mechanisms are responsible for guiding early circuit formation. Understanding such fundamental questions is clinically very important. To most effectively treat congenital hearing disorders and debilitating conditions like tinnitus, it is essential to first understand the normal development of the system and the most appropriate time for intervention.

Kubow lab micrograph Kubow Lab

Cell-tissue interactions in cancer and engineered tissues

The Kubow lab studies how cells in the body sense and modify their tissue environment. We are interested in the dynamic interplay in which physical cues from the microenvironment alter cell phenotype, and cells feedback to modify those very same cues. Although a cell's microenvironment is often assumed to be static and passive, it is neither: it both instructs and is changed by cell behavior. We study this problem in the context of extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis and cell migration – both of which are integral to promoting tissue regeneration and stopping cancer progression.

Luden lab micrograph Luden Lab

Effects of nutritional and training strategies on skeletal muscle plasticity

Dr. Luden’s research interests revolve around human skeletal muscle plasticity as it relates to athletic performance and healthy living. More specifically, he is interested in how nutritional and training strategies can be manipulated to create optimal cellular and molecular environments (satellite cell physiology, energetics, and fiber size) for recovery, adaptation and ultimately performance. Most of his work has incorporated aspects of endurance performance.

McLeod lab micrograph McLeod Lab

Amphibian biodiversity conservation

We are using both 2D and 3D microscopy to study and visualize morphological structures in amphibians. The goal of our work is to identify, describe, and conserve amphibian biodiversity. We are currently focused on understanding the structure, function, and phylogenetic utility of tubercles (small bumps on the skin) in all frogs, generally, and in a complex of 20+ species, specifically. These tubercles are typically described in qualitative terms, and we are seeking to quantify their differences so that we can more precisely use these data in species delimitation.

Velayudhan lab micrograph Velayudhan Lab

Effects of nutrition on gastrointestinal development in dairy calves

Gastrointestinal diseases are becoming a major problem in post-weaned calves due to changes in dietary management. Changes in the mode of nutrition in neonatal animals can induce morphological changes in the mucosa and thereby affect the functional status of gastrointestinal tract. This project investigates the effect of accelerated feeding and estrogen treatment on structure and function of gastrointestinal mucosa in young dairy calves.

Wyngaard lab micrograph Wyngaard Lab

Chromatin diminution in zooplankton

The Wyngaard lab is documenting the changes in genome size during development caused by chromatin diminution in a zooplankton. Using Feulgen stained embryos, light microscopy, and Bioquant image analysis software, research students have measured the nuclear DNA contents and documented a dramatic decrease in genome size at the 5th cleavage division.