Faculty Profiles

Faculty affiliated with the MD/PhD program at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School are involved in some really interesting research. Here are a few featured profiles representing each of our institutions.

 

KiBum LeeRutgers Logo

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University

Major research focus:

The primary research interest of our group is to develop and integrate nanotechnologies and chemical functional genomics to modulate signal pathways in cells (e.g. stem cells and cancer cells) towards specific cell lineages or behaviors.

A little bit more info:

KiBum Research ImageIn particular, we are interested in studying the function of microenvironmental cues (e.g. soluble signals, cell-cell interactions, and insoluble/physical signals) towards stem cell and cancer cell fate. In order to investigate the functions of microenvironmental cues that affect stem or cancer cell behaviors, we inevitably require an ability to emulate microenvironmental systems in vitro and assay responses of cells to these multiple signals. Recognizing how cell behaviors are controlled by the microenvironmental cues is, however, much more complex. Studying the complicated cell behaviors necessitate, at minimum, two abilities: i) to precisely control the features of the microenvironment that affect cell behaviors and ii) to probe stem cell responses to multiple cues at the single molecule level. For example, both approaches from nanotechnology-the “top-down” pattering of extracellular matrix (ECM) and signal molecules in combinatorial ways (e.g. ECM compositions, pattern geometry, pattern density, and gradient patterns), and the “bottom-up” synthesis of multifunctional nanoparticles and their modification with specific signal molecules-should be combined synergistically, if the complex cell behaviors are to be fully investigated. Collectively, our research program is directly relevant to matters concerning biomaterials, nanomedicine, chemical biology and stem/cancer cell biology.

For more information, view the KBLee group website.

Selected publications:

 


 

Peter Lobel

Professor of Pharmacology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Major research focus:

Our laboratory investigates the role of lysosomes in biology and medicine. 

A little bit more info:

In particular, we use proteomic approaches to identify the molecular bases for diseases involving the lysosome.  In a protein-to-disease approach, we use a combination of biological mass spectrometry, protein purification and subcellular fractionation to identify the spectrum of proteins that reside in the lysosome.  This provides basic information regarding lysosome function as well as suggesting potential candidates for lysosomal storage disease genes.  In a disease-to-protein approach, we compare the spectrum of lysosomal proteins present in specimens from patients with lysosomal storage diseases of unknown etiology with unaffected controls to identify proteins that are altered in disease states.  These approaches have led to the identification of the genetic basis for two childhood neurodegenerative disorders, one due to a deficiency in a lysosomal protease (late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis), another due to a deficiency in a lysosomal cholesterol transfer protein (Niemann-Pick type C2 disease).  We also conduct research to better understand the normal function of these proteins and to develop therapies for these diseases.

For more information, see Dr. Lobel's CABM profile page.

Selected publications:

 


 

Ileana Christealogo_Princeton

Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University

Major research focus:

The research in my laboratory is at the interface between proteomics and virology. Our goal is to identify and characterize mechanisms that control the fate of cells under invasion by pathogens, with particular emphasis on the viral modulation of chromatin remodeling machineries.

A little bit more info:Christea research - HIV

The wide range of diseases caused by viruses, from the common cold to arthritis to AIDS, is a reflection of the diverse ways in which viruses interact with host cells and manipulate their basic functions. How do viruses accomplish these tasks, and how do cells respond and adapt to infection? In approaching these questions, we utilize a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates modern mass spectrometry and proteomics with bioinformatics, microscopy, genetics, and virology, to generate a systems biology view of infection. Over the last years, we have focused on advancing current proteomics approaches in their ability to access transient cellular events and improving methods for characterizing and quantifying protein-protein and RNA-protein interactions during viral infection. We have developed methodologies that allow both tracking of protein localization and elucidation of interaction partners. These inter-disciplinary hybrid approaches have allowed us to obtain spatial and temporal insights into virus-host protein interactions in cells infected with HCMV, HSV-1, HIV-1, and Sindbis. Our results identified several mechanisms utilized by viruses to manipulate host cell processes at different stages of the virus life cycle. Examples from our recent findings include the virus modulation of host and virus gene expression and the epigenetic landscape of the cell, the alteration of innate immunity and DNA sensing, the control of mTOR pathway and cell growth, and the hijacking of cellular trafficking machineries. However, the richness of novel identified interactions continuously reminds us that we are still in virtually uncharted territory in understanding the complexity of the virus-host protein relationship. We will continue to bridge developments in mass spectrometry to characterization of cellular pathways involved in defense against pathogens and identification of new therapeutics.

For more information, visit the Christea Lab website.

Selected Publications:

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