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James C. Pino

Chemical and Physical Biology- PhD Candidate, Chemical and Physical Biology Graduate Student Association

Research Area

Systems structural biology.

My main project involves understanding the decision process controlling the fate of a cell. Particularly, I am interested in how a cell commits to apoptosis, the main form of programmed cell death in human cells. When apopotisis-inducing drugs are given to a population of genetically identical cells, some die while others survive. If the drug is removed and the cells that resisted apoptosis are allowed to repopulate, one would think the new population would  also be resistant if the drug was reintroduced. However, the same fraction of cells survive. This phenomena is observed across many cancer types and drugs. Why do some cells die and others survive? Towards answering this question, I build detailed models of the signaling process involved in cellular response to drugs.

Faculty Mentor

Carlos F. Lopez


Fischer AW, Heinze S, Putnam DK, Li B, Pino JC, Xia Y, Lopez CF, Meiler J. CASP11 – An Evaluation of a Modular BCL::Fold-Based Protein Structure Prediction Pipeline. PloS one. 11(4). e0152517. PMID: 27046050 [PubMed].

Undergraduate Institution

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, B.S. Physics