GSBS Research Opportunities
Research Opportunities Available
Below are descriptions of research projects of faculty who are planning to accept new rotation students in the current academic year (2023-2024). This list is updated annually in the summer and may be referenced for students or others seeking a TTUHSC faculty research mentor. Importantly, rotating graduate students should take note of how likely the faculty members are to accept students into their laboratories, based on the availability of space and/or funding—or whether the experience is available for educational purposes only.
|Research Area/Project Title
|Role of the Na/K and H/K pumps in normal and disease states of the endocrine, renal, cardiovascular and nervous systems. The relationship between the structure and the function of Na, H, and Ca pumps.
|Ion homeostasis, electrophysiology combined with fluorescence, immunocytochemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, ventricular myocytes, cell and neuronal culture, mouse models.
|Atomic description of the structural determinants underlying neuronal excitability. The elucidation of the molecular basis of ion channels-related diseases, e.g., epilepsy, long-QT syndrome and cancer with a special focus on structure-based drug discovery.
|Ion-channels, Crystallography, Electrophysiology, Neurological-disorders, Neuronal-excitability, Cancer and Drug-Discovery.
|Alzheimer's disease and neurodegenerative disorders pharmacotherapies. We carry out translational projects from initial testing of drug candidates in cell cultures, then in transgenic mice, and, if results are positive, up to human subjects in clinical trials. W also process, store, and analyze human biofluid samples (e.g. blood, saliva) for biomarker development.
|Alzheimer's disease, biomarker development, cell cultures, clinical trials, dementia, drug development, multiple sclerosis, rural cohort, transgenic mice
|Structural biology of cancer-related nutrient transporters for drug development; mechanism of solute transport.
|CryoEM single-particle analysis, ligand binding, protein-protein interaction, transport biochemistry, molecular microbiology
|Mechanisms of Modulating Acute, Chronic and Cancer Pain Pathways Using Physiological Processes, Reference Compounds, and Endocannabinoid Modulators
|Inflammatory, surgical, chemotherapy and cancer pain models; behavioral pharmacology; immunohistochemistry; molecular biology
|Evolution of protein structure and function in animal fertilization. Sex differences in connective tissue maintenance and repair underlying injury susceptibility. Sperm protein biotechnology
|species-specificity; molecular evolution; cell adhesion; matrix metalloproteinases; gene expression profiling
Mechanisms, functions and drug targets of neurotransmitter receptors and their protein networks. Mechanisms of clinically used drugs and novel drug target discovery and characterization.
|Drug targets, protein-protein interactions, molecular pharmacology, molecular biology, pharmacology
|Mechanisms of Drug Resistance in Pediatric Cancers: MYC is one of the oncogenes dysregulated in many cancers. Our lab is investigating modalities of targeting MYC. Pharmacology is one of the essential areas of drug development. Our pharmacology laboratory studies drug ADME in clinical and preclinical studies.
|chemoresistance; pediatric cancers; molecular pharmacology; BCL-2; MYC
|Molecular mechanisms of human diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, regulation of protein synthesis and protein transport.
|Molecular and cellular biology; human diseases; neurodegenerative disorders; translational control; protein synthesis; ribosome; RNA stability and degradation; protein quality control
|Fundamental mechanisms of gene expression regulation and its dysregulation in human diseases. Translational control in protozoa and mammalian organisms. Molecular mechanisms of drug resistance.
|Ribosome specialization, polysome profiling, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, Leishmania parasites, antimony drug resistance, environmental stressors and human diseases.
|Cancer Developmental Therapeutics, Targeting Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres in Osteosarcoma using Novel Drugs, Drug Combinations and Antibody Drug Conjugates
|Osteosarcoma, Pediatric Cancers, Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres, Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms, Antibody Drug Conjugates , Novel Drugs and Combinations
|Lawrence, J. Josh
|Nutrigenomics and cellular/synaptic physiology in Alzheimer’s disease, with emphasis on maintaining learning and memory circuits over lifespan.
|Nutritional deficiencies, excitation/inhibition balance, electrophysiology, GABAergic neurons, circuit analysis, learning tests, transcriptomics, multi-omics, epigenetics, neuromodulation, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, autism
|Our Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics Lab is seeking PhD and MD/PhD students in genomic sequencing data (e.g., genome, transcriptome, methylome, etc.) analyses and pipeline development (e.g., integrative multi-omics analyses, transposable element analyses, etc.) to join our new lab and planned new center for genomic medicine. Please check our lab (www.dllab.org) for detail.
|Genomics; Sequencing; Bioinformatics; Data-analysis; Software Development
|Membrane protein-mediated transport and recognition performance in artificial systems; Development of novel antimicrobials with high activity, low toxicity, and target specificity; Drug delivery for cancer therapy; Nanodiscs.
|Antibiotics and biofilms; drug delivery; biomembranes and biomimetic membranes; membrane protein bionanotechnology; nanodiscs.
|Signaling mechanisms that drive Prostate Cancer (PCa) Progression and Metastasis. A current focus area in the lab is investigating the role of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) particularly Exosomes in PCa progression and creating a metastatic niche
|Prostate Cancer, Bone Metastatic progression, Signaling Mechanisms, Extracellular Vesicles, Exosomes, Mouse Models of tumor progression and metastasis
|Brain research: Neuroplasticity in clinically relevant conditions such as chronic pain with a particular focus on neuroimmune signaling and neuropeptides.
|Neuroplasticity, translational neuroscience, preclinical disease models, neuroimmune signaling, optogenetics, chemogenetics, pharmacology, behavior, electrophysiology, multiphoton calcium imaging, confocal microscopy.
|Understanding the role of telomerase in cancer and normal tissues, Mining the cancer and normal genome to identify oncogenic patterns and those associated with therapy resistance, Developing new tools to effectively mine big data
|Bioinformatics, Omics, Tools Development, Cancer Genomics
|Cancer biology, drug discovery, preclinical models and therapeutics development
|Cancer biology; DNA repair, cancer signaling; therapeutics development; chemoresistance; ovarian cancer; breast cancer, colorectal cancer
|Neuroimmune signaling in Alcohol Use Disorder and comorbid conditions: The role of specific brain cell types.
|Brain mechanisms of alcohol and drug abuse, Neurogenomics, Epigenomics, Single cell sequencing, Bioinformatics
|The Molecular and Cellular Bases of Aging in Age-related Neurodegenerative Diseases, Human Healthy Aging and AD Studies, Caregivers and AD/ADRD in Hispanics, African Americans Studies, Diabetes/Obesity Mouse and Human Studies, Drug Discovery Preclinical and Clinical Studies.
|Neurogenetics; mouse models; neurodegenerative diseases; aging; mitochondria; oxidative stress; mitochondrial therapeutics
|Cancer Developmental Therapeutics
|Childhood cancers (neuroblastoma, sarcomas, brain tumors) and adult cancers (breast cancer and sarcomas); telomere maintenance and DNA repair mechanisms as biomarkers and drug targets. Antibody therapy.
|Understanding and Treating Biofilms in Chronic Wound Infections, Determining how Polymicrobial Interactions Affect the Severity and Antimicrobial Susceptivity of Wound Infections
|Bacteria, biofilm, wound infection, mouse models, antimicrobial development and testing
|Thomas, Jeffrey H.
|Cell Shape Change and Movement in Development; Regulation of the Cytoskeleton; Src Signal Transduction
|morphogenesis; embryonic development; cell shape change; actomyosin dynamics; cytoskeleton
|Multi-approach strategy that involves Computational and Experimental analyses to understand the Cellular and Molecular drivers of disease progression in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Prostate Cancer (PCa). Two focus areas in the lab are: 1) to identify therapeutic targets for BPH using Computational and Experimental approaches; and 2) to investigate the Stromal and Immune Microenvironments in understanding disease pathology of the Prostate.
|Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Prostate Cancer, Tumor Microenvironment, Disease Associated Fibroblasts, Disease Associated Macrophages
|Understanding Polyspecific Drug Binding in P-glycoprotein
|ABC transporter function; multi-drug resistance; genetic disease
|Proteostasis in Alzheimer’s Disease, FOXOs in Ischemic Stroke, Discovery of Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarkers, Modeling and Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases with Stem Cells
|ABC transporter function; multidrug resistance; genetic disease
|Bacterial Outer Membrane Active Transport: Fundamental Structure/Function Studies & Application to Discovery of Novel Antibacterial Drugs
|Structural biology, protein biochemistry, membrane biophysics, bacteriology, bioinformatics, drug discovery
|Research Area/Project Title
|Our Lab has broad interest in approaches to understand the mechanisms by which the neurovascular unit responds to brain ischemia with respect to transport protein expression, cell-cell interactions, and the transport of drugs, ions and nutrients that are vital for brain recovery after stroke. We utilize a variety of in vitro and in vivo blood-brain barrier, stroke and neuropathic pain models to both measure drug and nutrient uptake/transport and to characterize the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of the paracellular barrier during pathophysiologic states. We also study the neurovascular impact of nicotine exposure from emerging tobacco products, including prenatal exposure.
|Blood-brain barrier; brain drug discovery; brain drug delivery, stroke, nicotine, pain
|In depth molecular aspects of human adult stem cell functionality are being investigated using in vitro, and in vivo using various degenerative models. Determining the role of KLF2 in the genetically altered murine model of rheumatoid arthritis (in vitro and in vivo models).
|KLF2, Stem cells' Myeloid cells, Autophagy, Gamma delta T cells
|Design, synthesis, and evaluation of compounds with potential utilization for treating CNS disorders.
|Medicinal chemistry, pain, opioid ligands, cannabinoids, chemotherapy-induced pain, neuroinflammation.
|Cancer biology and signaling, molecular pathology, pathogenesis of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), mechanisms regulating pre-metastatic niche. Contribution of Notch signaling, TP53 polymorphism and extracellular vesicle (exosomes) pathway in TSC tumorigenesis, cancer metastasis, cell phenotype/fate modifications. In collaboration: Innate Immunity; Tumor Immunology; Cancer Immunotherapy
|Cancer Biology and Signaling; Extracellular Vesicles (exosomes); Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC); Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM); Renal carcinoma; Innate Immunity; Tumor Immunology; Cancer Immunotherapy
|La-Beck, Ninh (Irene)
|Cancer Immunotherapy and Drug Delivery to Overcome Therapeutic Resistance
|Nanoparticle, nanomedicine, liposomes, immune checkpoints, macrophage, melanoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, chemoresistance, immunotherapy, drug delivery, tumor immunology
|Understanding and developing immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer
|Tumor immunology; Cancer Immunotherapy
|Prognostic biomarkers of breast and gastrointestinal malignancies, inflammatory mechanisms leading to extravasation of leukocytes, functions of complement and innate immunity in liver regeneration and liver pathologies, contributions of complement to pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders and cancer. Contributed to the original discovery of complement as mechanism of tumor-driven immunosuppression (Nature Immunology 2008, Markiewski et al.) that initiated several studies on a role of complement in cancer and ultimately led to the first clinical trial of complement-based anticancer therapy. Research laboratory focusing on a role of complement in cancer.
|Complement Biology; Innate Immunity; Tumor Immunology; Cancer Biology; Cancer Immunotherapy
|Our lab focuses on investigating novel treatments for substance use disorders and pain. We use in vitro models like receptor binding and functional assays, and behavioral models like drug discrimination and self-administration procedures to identify novel compounds and understand the mechanisms of action of novel treatments for pain and substance use disorders.
|Opioid addiction, substance use disorder, pain, receptor binding assay, GPCR functional assays, drug discrimination, self-administration, respiratory depression, antinociception.
|Research focused on T cell responses to pediatric leukemias and the challenges for finding cancer immunotherapies targeting T cells to treat malignancies of the same origin such as T-All and how distinct tumor microenvironments impact the generation of leukemia-specific T cell responses
|Immunology, T cells, leukemia, cancer immunotherapy
|Preclinical/clinical development of antibody-based biotherapeutics such as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) targeting receptor tyrosine kinases for cancer therapy. Our focus is on: 1) ADC generation & characterization; 2) Therapeutic efficacy validation in both in vitro and in vivo models; 3) ADC pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles; and 4) ADC toxicological activities in animals.
|Receptor tyrosine kinases; Antibody-drug conjugates; Anticancer therapeutic efficacy; Pharmacokinetic profiles; Toxicological activities; Animal tumor models.