Program in Biomolecular Imaging and Biophysics



Molecular Imaging

Faculty members whose research is focused toward understanding the nature of biologic processes at the molecular level.

Ricardo Decca (Physics) - Our research revolves around the use of Near-field Scanning Optical Microscopy (NSOM) to investigate the properties of condensed matter systems at the nanoscale. The main themes behind our research are to better understand how light interacts with matter in dimensions smaller compared with the wavelength of light and from the interaction to infer the properties of the system under study.


Millie Georgiadis (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) - Research in my laboratory is directed toward understanding the role of protein-nucleic acid interactions in such fundamental biological processes as replication, nuclear export, and regulation of gene expression. Our approach is to integrate X-ray crystallographic studies with complementary biochemical studies. .


Thomas Hurley (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) - Structure and function of alcohol metabolizing enzymes and enzymes involved in glycogen synthesis. 


Sungsoo Na (Biomedical Engineering) - The primary objective of our research group is to understand the biophysical mechanism by which cells sense and respond to specific physical stimuli in the environment. In addition to traditional biochemical methods, we use  optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, magnetic tweezers, and advanced microscopy and computational image analysis such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). 


Christoph Naumann (Chemistry) - The physical characterization of membranes involving studies of the lateral diffusion of phospholipids and membrane proteins via single molecule fluorescence microscopy and experiments related to structural analysis using neutron reflectivity. 


Cellular Imaging

Faculty members whose research is focused toward understanding the nature of biological processes at the cellular and cell ultrastructural level.


Simon Atkinson (Biology) - My research aims to understand how a cell's shape, its physiology and its motility are affected by signals and injuries that change the organization of actin. A major focus is the role of rho family GTPase signaling and regulation of actin binding proteins.


Robert Bacallo (Nephrology) - My scientific focus has centered on the question as to how epithelial cells organize to form a functioning epithelium.


Richard Day (Cellular and Integrative Physiology) - We biochemical and molecular approaches to define networks of protein interactions that are coordinated by specific transcription factors.  These in vitro approaches are then complemented by non-invasive live-cell imaging techniques using the many different color variants of the marine invertebrate fluorescent proteins.  We use Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based microscopy and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) to map the spatial distribution of probe lifetimes inside living cells.


Kenneth Dunn (Nephrology) - The function of an epithelium depends upon the polar distribution of transporters and receptors on either the lumenal or basal side of the monolayer. We have shown that endocytosis is critically important to this polarity as the apical and basolateral membranes of epithelial cells are continuously and thoroughly intermixed in endosomes where proteins are sorted for return to the proper domain of the plasma membrane.


Jeffrey Elmendorf (Cellular and Integrative Physiology) - The molecular mechanism by which the hormone insulin regulates glucose transport into muscle and fat cells is my major research interest. 


Shiaofen Fang (Computer and Information Science) - Visualization, Computer Graphics and Geometric Modeling.


Vincent Gattone (Anatomy and Cell Biology) - Our laboratory studies cellular and molecular pathogenesis of various renal diseases including polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and immunodeficiency virus associated nephropathy.


Michael Rubart (Wells Center Pediatric Research) - Our research uses transgenic approaches to determine if donor myocytes functionally couple to host cardiomyocytes following transplantation. 


Fredrick Pavalko (Cellular and Integrative Physiology) - Our research is focused on understanding the role of the actin cytoskeleton and actin filament interactions with integrins in transducing those signals into changes in cell physiology.

Michael Sturek (Cellular and Integrative Physiology) - The general aim of our research program is to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms for in vivo cardiovascular phenomena. Our cellular studies on diabetes involve exposure of isolated cells to vasoactive agents, patch clamp electrophysiology, and fluorescence imaging. We are using deconvolution and confocal microscopy imaging to localize molecules within tissues and cells.


Biomedical Imaging

Gary Hutchins (Radiology) - Our research interests include the development of quantitative PET imaging methods for the noninvasive in-vivo study of physiologic processes in oncology, cardiology, and the neurosciences.  The development of these imaging resources also serve as a center in support of inter-departmental and inter-institutional research activities. 

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