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All Personnel (alphabetical)

Complete Directory of all MPB Personnel

POD 3

Administrative Team

Other administrative needs are delivered by personnel in POD 3 with special responsibility for MPB. Click on their names to access a picture.

POD3 Director: Connie Huebschmann

HR – Donna Ingram

Grant Admin – post-award: Bess Cahill, Becky Bowden, Barbara Hill

Grant Admin – pre-award: Beth Rivas, Alicia Davis

Travel – Kathy Davis

IT – Tim Dugger

 


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    Matthew R. Alexander, M.D., Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Cardiovascular Medicine
    Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

    Counter-regulatory immune mechanisms in hypertension and end-organ damage


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    Rafael Arrojo e Drigo, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

    The Arrojo e Drigo lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms regulating post-mitotic cell homeostasis and longevity. Many post-mitotic cells can be as old as the organism, which makes them remarkably long-lived. We study long-lived cells in different organs and explore their developmental trajectory, structure-function and aging patterns. Our lab uses a combination of single cell sequencing and high-resolution light, electron and isotope microscopy platforms to overlay cell structure-function with molecular identity, age and metabolism.


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    Julio E. Ayala, PhD

    Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

    Research in the Ayala lab focuses on gut-brain interactions that regulate energy balance. Specifically, we are interested in identifying regions in the central nervous system and molecular mechanisms within those regions that mediate the effects of the gut hormone Glucagon-like peptide-1 (Glp1) and related Glp1 receptor (Glp1r) agonists on feeding behavior. Our lab combines transgenic mouse models, targeted pharmacological interventions and state-of-the-art metabolic phenotyping capabilities to address research questions. We aim to extend the technical expertise in the lab to leverage the existing imaging, circuit mapping, electrophysiology and behavioral phenotyping capabilities at Vanderbilt. Other projects in the lab focus on leveraging biochemical and pharmacological properties of the Glp1r towards the design of more effective therapeutics for obesity and diabetes


    Ashlee Bartley

    Assistant to the Chair, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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    Albert H. Beth, PhD

    Professor Emeritus, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

    Structure, dynamics, and interactions of membrane proteins


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    Nathan Bingham, MD, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

    Pediatric Endocrinology


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    Karin Janae Bosma

    Graduate Student, O'Brien laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

    Elevated fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels have been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) development and cardiovascular-associated mortality (CAM). Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified SNPs in G6PC2 associated with FBG. G6PC2 is an isoform of the glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit expressed in pancreatic islet beta cells. Deletion of G6pc2 in mice results in reduced FBG, consistent with the human GWAS data, and islets from these mice have enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) at sub-maximal glucose concentrations. I am using mouse models to explore the function of G6pc2 in islet beta cells and its potential as a therapeutic target for the prevention of T2D and CAM.


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    Milam A. Brantley, MD, PhD

    Associate Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
    Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

    Pharmacogenomics and metabolomics of retinal diseases


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    Jonathan D Brown, MD

    Assistant Professor, Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

    The Brown lab explores the role of the epigenome and transcription in pathologic gene regulation that drives cardiometabolic disease.


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    Erin Calipari, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology


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      Nancy Carrasco, M.D.

      Professor and Chair, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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      Roger Chalkley, D. Phil.

      Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Research, Education and Training , Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
      Professor , Medical Education and Administration
      Professor


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      Wenbiao Chen, PhD

      Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

      Genetic basis of susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.


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      Rui Chen, Ph.D.

      Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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      Alan D Cherrington, PhD

      Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
      Jacquelyn A. Turner and Dr. Dorothy J. Turner Chair in Diabetes Research, Medicine

      Diabetes, glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, physiology


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      Ashley Christensen

      Graduate Student, Gannon Laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

      I am studying ways to improve beta cell proliferation and survival in order to treat diabetes. The E prostanoid receptors EP3 and EP4 are G-protein-coupled receptors expressed in various locations throughout the body, including pancreatic islets. Previous data from our lab has shown that pharmacological inhibition of EP3 and activation of EP4 increases beta cell proliferation and survival ex vivo. These results were seen with both human and mouse islets. My project focuses on how EP3 inactivation affects beta cells under the conditions of high fat diet, aging, and pregnancy.


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      Derek P Claxton, PhD

      Research Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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      Joseph Cleland

      Graduate Student, Neuert laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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        Katie Coate, PhD

        Adjoint Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Samford University

        The pathogenesis of nutrition-related chronic diseases


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        Charles E Cobb, PhD

        Research Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Membrane Protein Structure and Function, Antioxidant Vitamins, ESR Spectroscopy, Fluorescence Spectroscopy,Membrane,Protein Structure,Spectroscopy


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        Roger J. Colbran, PhD

        Professor, Vice Chair, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Role of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) in normal synaptic signaling and in neuropsychiatric disorders.

        LAB WEB SITE


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        Jackie D. Corbin, Ph.D.

        Graduate Student, Assistant, Associate, Full and Emeritus Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1971-Present

        Dr. Corbin, together with Dr. Sharon Francis, devoted his research career to determining the biochemical mechanisms whereby cyclic nucleotides mediate the effects of hormones, neurotransmitters, and other agents on many biological processes.  In 1976, he identified a novel protein that bound to cyclic GMP, which was later purified and characterized as being a phosphodiesterase that degrades cyclic GMP.  This enzyme, now known as PDE5, is the site of action of drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction.  Dr. Corbin was a HHMI investigator for 17 years.


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        Matthew Cottam

        Graduate Student, Hasty laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

        I am a 5th year graduate student in Alyssa Hasty’s lab. My interests are at the interface of physiology and immunology and I am focused on using bioinformatic approaches to study the relationship between immune cells and metabolic perturbations. My project in the lab is to study adaptive immunity in the context of weight loss and weight regain, which we refer to as weight cycling. To date, little work has been done to describe and define changes in T cell activity within adipose tissue during significant weight changes. In the Hasty lab, I am working to understand the complex interplay between adipocytes, macrophages, and T cells that induces adipose tissue T cell accumulation, activation, tolerance, and hypersensitivity.


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        Brittney Covington

        Graduate Student, Chen Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        I am a second-year MPB graduate student in the laboratory of Wenbiao Chen. I am interested in beta cell death in type 2 diabetes and in beta cell proliferation in a glucagon deficient background. I enjoy yoga, tennis, rock climbing and wakesurfing. My research project will investigate the intricate cytokine cross-talk between macrophages and beta cells which leads to beta cell death and dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.


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        Bruce M Damon, PhD

        Professor, Radiology and Radiological Sciences
        Professor, Biomedical Engineering
        Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Development and application of novel imaging and spectroscopic approaches to studying muscle function.


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        Reza Dastvan, PhD

        Research Fellow in Hassane S. Mchaourab's lab, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

        In Hassane Mchaourab's laboratory I study the multidrug transporters involved in cancer and infectious diseases.


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        Lea K Davis, Ph.D.

        Associate Professor, Division of Genetic Medicine
        Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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        Niels de Jonge, PhD, University of Freiburg

        Adjoint Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
        Head of Innovative Electron Microscopy, INM Leibniz-Institute of new Materials

        Molecular-level imaging, electron microscopy, biophysics, cell biology, protein function, nanobiotechnology, nanotechnology


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        Danielle Dean, PhD

        Assistant Professor, Diabetes, Endocrinology, & Metab Division
        Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        I study mechanisms regulating plasticity of alpha cells in the pancreatic islet.


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        Eric Delpire, PhD

        Professor, Anesthesiology
        Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Molecular physiology of cation-chloride cotransport mechanisms in the nervous system.


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        Matthew Dickerson, PhD

        Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

        Pancreatic Islet Expression and Function of Two-Pore Domain Potassium Channels


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        Amanda Doran, MD, PhD

        Assistant Professor , Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4) and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

        Our lab is interested in the immunologic and molecular mechanisms underlying atherosclerotic and cardiometabolic disease.


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        Dale Scott Edgerton, PhD

        Research Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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        Ronald B. Emeson, PhD

        Joel G. Hardman Professor , Pharmacology
        Professor, Psychiatry
        Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Molecular neurobiology.


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        John H. Exton, M.D., Ph.D.

        Professor Emeritus, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
        Instructor, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Over his five decade research career, Dr. Exton’s research greatly advanced our understanding of the biochemical mechanisms of signal transduction.  His research explored how hormones, neurotransmitters and growth factors activate phospholipase enzymes in order to regulate calcium ions, G proteins, protein kinases and other factors within multiple cell types.  He was a HHMI-funded investigator for 36 years and the recipient of multiple honors and awards, including the Lilly Award from the American Diabetes Association and election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001.


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        Payam Fathi

        Graduate Student, Ayala Laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

        I am a graduate student in the Ayala Lab, whose lab studies the mechanisms that underlie alterations in feeding behavior and gut-brain axis signaling. I received Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry and Bioengineering from the University of Maryland. After undergrad, I joined the Sears Lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a research technician and received a Master of Science degree in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. My thesis project aims to examine how changes in diet modify the ability of a gut-brain neurocircuit utilizing hindbrain preproglucagon expressing neurons to control feeding related behaviors in a time dependent manner


        Yolanda Fernandez Otero, PhD

        Research Fellow, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics


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        Sharron H. Francis, Ph.D.

        Graduate Student, Assistant, Research Associate, Research Professor and Adjunct Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1975-Present

        Dr. Francis worked as a close scientific colleague with Dr. Jackie Corbin, forming a scientific partnership that lasted for 37 years.  Together they studied how cyclic nucleotides mediate the effects of hormones, neurotransmitters, and other agents on many biological processes.  She is widely recognized for her studies of phosphodiesterases, and specifically for helping to purify and characterize PDE5, the enzyme that degrades cyclic GMP and is the site of action of drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction.


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        Aurelio Galli, PhD

        Adjoint Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
        Professor, Psychiatry

        Trafficking and Biophysics of Neurotransmitter Transporters with emphasis on metabolic regulation of dopamine signaling.


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        Maureen Anne Gannon, PhD

        Professor, Medicine
        Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
        Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Molecular genetics of pancreas development, organogenesis, morphogenesis, islet function, diabetes, transcription
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        Crockett Genea, MS

        Assistant, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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        Slavina Goleva

        Graduate Student, Davis laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

        I’m originally from Plovdiv, Bulgaria. I earned a bachelors in biology from the University of Kentucky, where I researched how mitochondrial stress affects the development of hypertension in vervet monkeys. I started my PhD at Vanderbilt University in 2016 in the department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. I’m completing my thesis in Dr. Lea K Davis’s laboratory. My project focuses on the clinical and genetic epidemiology of functional seizures. My research interests include neurology, genetics, data science methodology, and epidemiology.

         


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        Jose A. Gomez, Ph.D.

        Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology Division
        Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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        John C. Gore, PhD

        Director, Institute for Imaging Science
        University Professor , Radiology and Radiological Sciences
        Professor, Physics and Astronomy
        Hertha Ramsey Cress Chair , Medicine
        Professor, Biomedical Engineering
        Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Imaging Science, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


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        Kandi Granberry

        Graduate Education Coordinator, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and Pharmacology


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        Daryl K. Granner, M.D.

        Professor and Chairman, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1984-2008
        Professor Emeritus, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

        Over his 14 years as Chair, Dr. Granner both renamed and transformed the classically-organized Department of Physiology into one that used molecular biological and biophysical strategies to define how hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors and nutrients regulate gene expression and other signaling processes. He may be best known for his highly successful mentoring of many young scientists.  His own research focused on how insulin regulates genes important for glucose metabolism, including phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), glucokinase and hexokinase II.  He also served as Director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center for 16 years, and was a frequent keynote or invited speaker at international conferences.


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          Brad Grueter, PhD

          Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology
          Assistant Professor, Psychiatry
          Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

          • : P435H MRB IV


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          Volker H Haase, MD

          Professor, Medicine
          Professor, Cancer Biology
          Krick-Brooks Chair, Nephrology and Hypertension
          Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

          Molecular oxygen-sensing


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          Joel G. Hardman, Ph.D.

          Instructor, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1964-1975

          The very significant body of work performed by Dr. Hardman has contributed tremendously to our understanding of cyclic nucleotide synthesis and degradation.  In particular much of the fundamental knowledge of guanylate cyclase and cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, which synthesize and degrade cyclic GMP, respectively, is a result of Dr. Hardman’s research.  In addition to his appointment in our department, Dr. Hardman was also Professor and Chairman of the Pharmacology Department from 1975 to 1990 and Associate Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt until his retirement in 1997.


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            Ray Clement Harris, MD, PhD

            Director, Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine
            Professor, Medicine
            Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

            Role of cycylooxygenase-2 in renal development and function; role of growth factors in recovery from acute renal injury; role of renin-angiotensin system in regulation of epithelial cell function


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            David Glenn Harrison, MD

            Director, Division of Clinical Pharmacology
            Professor, Medicine
            Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

            Inflammation; Endothelial cell metabolism of tetrahydrobiopterin


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            Alyssa H. Hasty, PhD

            Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

            My laboratory is interested in immune-mediated mechanisms of metabolic diseases.


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            Jacek J Hawiger, MD, PhD

            Distinguished Professor, Medicine
            Louise B. McGavock Chair,
            Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

            Inflammation, Innate Immunity, Biodefense, and Intracellular Delivery of Proteins and Peptides


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            Antentor O Hinton, Jr., Ph.D.

            Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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            Jason Hughes

            Graduate Student, Neuert Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

            I am from New Jersey and got my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2018. I am currently a 3rd year PhD Student in the Molecular Biology and Physiology Program in the lab of Gregor Neuert. I am a ​NIH Integrated Training in Engineering and Diabetes Fellow and am a National Science Foundation predoctoral Fellow.

            My current research interests are in studying gene regulation at the single cell level using quantitative experimental and computational modeling approaches. My thesis research focuses on understanding how the SAGA complex regulates gene expression heterogeneity and transcriptional memory in S. cerevisiae hyperosmotic stress adaptation.

            In my free time, I enjoy playing board games, breakdancing, and playing the saxophone.

             


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            Eric J. Hustedt, PhD

            Research Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

            Advanced electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) techniques combined with computational approaches to study protein compelexes of ankyrin.


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            David A. Jacobson, PhD

            Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

            Secretagogue induced mechanisms regulating pancreatic islet electrical activity and hormone secretion


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            Leonard S. "Jim" Jefferson, Ph.D.

            Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1961-1967

            Dr. Jefferson’s graduate training with Dr. Charles Park helped prepare him for his impressive career at Penn State.  His research has encompassed multiple aspects of the translational control of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle and liver, including effects of substrate availability to the tissue and the mechanisms by which hormones such as insulin and glucocorticoids regulate gene expression.  Dr. Jefferson has been a Professor of Physiology / Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Penn State since 1975, and Chairman of that Department since 1988.  One of his many honors and activities was serving as President of the American Physiological Society in 1995-1996.


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              Carl H. Johnson, PhD

              Stevenson Professor, Biological Sciences
              Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

              Cellular and Molecular Biology of Biological Clocks


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              Erkan Karakas, PhD

              Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

              Structural Biology of Calcium Signaling and Transport through Biological Membranes


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              Ben Kesler

              Graduate Student in the Neuert Lab, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

              I received my B.S. in Neuroscience with a minor in Math at the University of Arizona. I am currently a PhD student in Dr. Gregor Neuert’s lab.  My interests include gene regulation, stem cells, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), data analysis, and software engineering. My thesis project involves using a combination of quantitative single-molecule RNA experiments in single cells and high-throughput data and image analysis to understand the molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation by antisense long non-coding RNAs in mammals.


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              Annet Kirabo, D.V.M., M.Sc., Ph.D.

              Assistant Professor, Clinical Pharmacology Division/Medicine, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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              Tetsuro Kono, Ph.D.

              Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1963-1992

              Dr. Kono’s primary research focus was on the control of glucose entry into fat cells by insulin.  He was among the first to report that glucose transporters can be translocated from an intracellular pool to the cell membrane in an insulin-dependent manner is fundamental to the understanding of insulin-regulated glucose transport.  In addition, Dr. Kono identified and extensively characterized the insulin-sensitive cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase enzyme in fat tissue.  Dr. Kono remained active in the laboratory for several years as an Emeritus Professor..


                Guillaume Kraft, PhD

                Research Instructor / Cherrington Lab, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                Rachel W. Kuchtey, MD, PhD

                Associate Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
                Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Glaucoma is a major public global health problem accounting for vision loss and blindness in millions of people world-wide. Although glaucoma can be treated by lowering intraocular pressure with medications, laser treatments or surgery, most patients are unaware of decreased vision until advanced stages of the disease. Improved treatment for glaucoma patients requires better understanding of the disease mechanisms and development of early detection strategies. Our broad long term goals are to understand the disease pathophysiology and to identify genetic markers for early detection and better treatment of glaucoma.


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                Fred Sanford Lamb, MD, PhD

                Professor, Pediatrics
                Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair,
                Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Reactive oxygen species generation following cytokine stimulation.


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                Matthew John Lang, PhD

                Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
                Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                The general goal of our research program is to probe the inner-workings of Nature's molecular and cellular machinery through functional measurement. Building from a molecular perspective we and collaborators employ a measure-make-model approach including single molecule biophysics methods of optical tweezers, single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, functional mutations, and simulations.


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                Louise Lantier, PhD

                Research Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                Metabolic Pathophysiology Core Managing Director


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                Thao Le

                Graduate Student, Ayala Laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                Born and raised in Tra Vinh, Viet Nam, I came to the U.S. to complete high school in Minnesota and attend Hampshire College, a small liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts. Graduating with concentrations in anthropology and interdisciplinary science in 2014, I stayed in MA and worked as a research assistant for 1 year before moving to Nashville to pursue my graduate and medical education at Vanderbilt. I am currently a G3 MSTP student training in the lab of Dr. Julio Ayala, where we study the role of glucagon-like peptide-1 in regulating energy balance.


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                Bingshan Li, PhD

                Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Computational and statistical genomics, Bioinformatics, Cancer genomics, Complex diseases, Genetics of psychiatric disorders


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                Alejandro Llorente Esteban

                Graduate Student, Carrasco Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                I am an international grad student from Spain doing my PhD. at Vanderbilt University. I did my undergrad in biotechnology at University Francisco De Vitoria in Madrid, Spain. My post-baccalaureate training was at Yale University from 2017 to 2019. At Yale I enrolled Dr. Nancy Carrasco’s laboratory and I became interested in understanding the allosteric binding site of NIS. We moved to Vanderbilt University where I started my PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Carrasco. I am trying to understand the mechanism that NIS membrane protein uses to mediate the active transport of Iodide. My project is focused on understanding how the interaction between oxyanions and the allosteric binding site of NIS changes the Iodide transport stoichiometry from electrogenic to electroneutral. I also want to research if there are physiological substrates that interact with NIS allosteric binding site. Finally, I am interested in trying to develop new approaches that allow our lab to elucidate NIS tertiary structure.


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                Robert L Macdonald, MD, PhD

                Professor and Chair, Neurology

                Transcription, translation, folding, assembly, trafficking and pharmacological and electrophysiological properties of recombinant/native GABAA receptor channels and of mutant GABAA receptor channels associated with genetic epilepsy syndromes in transfected HEK293T cells and in transgenic mice.


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                Meenakshi S. Madhur, MD, PhD

                Associate Professor, Medicine, Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Cardiology
                Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                To investigate the role of T cells and T cell-derived cytokines in hypertension and renal/vascular dysfunction


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                Mark A. Magnuson, MD

                Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                Louise B. McGavock Chair and Professor, Medicine
                Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology

                Pancreatic endocrine cell differentitation and dedifferentiation, reprogramming of pancreatic acinar cells into new beta cells, genetic and epigenetic regulation of cellular plasticity


                Jose Maldonado, Ph.D.

                Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                Robert T. Matthews, PhD

                Research Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Research interests include the anatomy and physiology of (1) reward systems of the brain that are activated by abused drugs such as cocaine, and (2) limbic system brain areas involved in anxiety and stress. Of specific interest is how these brain systems interact to cause relapse of drug use by people previously addicted to drugs.


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                James M. May, MD

                Professor, Medicine
                Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Dr. May's laboratory is involved in two areas involving antioxidant vitamins and micronutrients: the function of vitamin C to tighten the endothelial permeability barrier in diabetes and the role of the vitamin in preserving pericytes in diabetic retinas.


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                Owen P McGuinness, PhD

                Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Regulation Of Metabolic Response to Inflammation: Interaction With Nutrition


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                Hassane S. Mchaourab, PhD

                Professor, Louis B. McGavock Chair, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Structure and dynamic basis for protein function.


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                Haley Mendoza-Romero

                Graduate Student, Simerly Laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. I attended Duke University as an undergraduate and received a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience in 2015. After graduation, I worked as a Research Technician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies for 2 years where I studied developmental neuroscience in the labs of Dr. Kathleen K. Sulik and Dr. Scott Parnell respectively. I matriculated into the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program here at Vanderbilt University in 2017 and joined Dr. Richard Simerly’s lab as a PhD student in May 2018.

                I am interested in developmental neuroscience, specifically how the formation of complex neural circuits early in life impacts physiology into adulthood.  Environmental influences that occur early in life, such as nutrition, dictate adaptations of an organism that will affect susceptibility to weight gain and obesity later in life. The hypothalamus plays an essential role in the regulation of energy balance and is impacted by changes in diet during sensitive periods of development. It is also known that high fat diet in adults causes increased activation of microglia in the hypothalamus. Microglia are known to be key regulators in the development of neural circuits, but there is not yet a proposed role for microglia in the development of hypothalamic feeding circuits. My project is focused on defining the role of microglia in the formation of neural circuits that control metabolic state.

                 


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                Smriti Mishra, PhD

                Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Multi drug transporters


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                Sabrina Mitchell, PhD

                Research Fellow, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                Research Interests

                The impact of mitochondrial genetic variation on complex traits and disease
                Methods for high-throughput classification of mitochondrial haplogroups
                Mechanisms mitochondria employ to communicate with the nucleus to regulate gene expression
                Bridging statistical and molecular genetics to determine functional variants that influence disease risk.


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                Mary Courtney Moore, PhD

                Research Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                liver glucose metabolism, organ balance, tracer methods


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                Howard E. Morgan, M.D.

                Medical Fellow, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1954-1967

                During Dr. Morgan’s tenure at Vanderbilt, he investigated glucose uptake and glycogenolysis in heart muscle.  In particular, his studies of the regulation of phosphorylase b activity provided insights into the control of glycogen breakdown.  Dr. Morgan’s post-Vanderbilt research program at Penn State focused on the regulation of protein turnover in heart muscle.  He was Chairman of  the Department of Physiology at Penn State from 1973 – 1987.  Among his many honors and awards, Dr. Morgan was President of  the American Physiological Society (1985-86) and American Heart Association (1987-88), and was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences in 1987.


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                  Douglas P. Mortlock, PhD

                  Research Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  Long-range gene regulation, genomics, developmental biology, bone and joint development


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                  Terunaga Nakagawa, MD, PhD

                  Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  Molecular and cellular biophysics of synapses


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                  Arya Nakhe

                  Graduate Student, Jacobson Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  I grew up in Kolhapur, India and received my bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology Engineering from Shivaji University, India. Following graduation, I moved to Philadelphia to pursue a master’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania where my research focused on genetic variation affecting transcriptional regulation of hepatic metabolism by the nuclear receptor PPARα.

                  Currently, I work in the Jacobson lab studying the mechanistic role of pancreatic ion channels in health and diabetes. My thesis project focuses on developing pharmacology for the pancreatic two-pore domain K+ channel TALK-1. β-cell TALK-1 functions on the plasma membrane and the ER membrane culminate in limiting glucose-stimulated Ca2+ oscillation frequency and pulsatile insulin secretion. KCNK16, the gene that encodes TALK-1, is the most islet-restricted and most abundant β-cell K+ channel transcript. Furthermore, a T2D associated non-synonymous polymorphism (rs1535500) in KCNK16 that causes a gain-of-function (GOF) in TALK-1 may reduce β-cell Ca2+ entry and insulin secretion. Another GOF mutation in TALK-1 (>300X), L114P, causes autosomal dominant maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) by reducing glucose-stimulated β-cell Ca2+ influx (GSCI), [Ca2+]ER storage and insulin secretion. Together these data suggest that TALK-1 is an islet-restricted therapeutic target and inhibition of TALK-1 channels could increase Ca2+ oscillation frequency, pulsatile insulin secretion and [Ca2+]ER storage in T2D with minimal off-target effects. My research utilizes a wide range of techniques including high-throughput screening approaches, Ca2+ imaging and electrophysiological recordings to identify and optimize TALK-1 inhibitors and to investigate the therapeutic potential of inhibiting TALK-1 in the treatment of diabetes.

                  When I’m not in lab, I enjoy painting, music, cooking and traveling.


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                  Gregor Neuert, PhD

                  Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                  Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering

                  Quantitative and predictive understanding of dynamic signal transduction and gene regulation of the coding and the non-coding genome in model organisms and human disease.

                   

                  For more information, please see our lab web site.


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                  Kevin Dean Niswender, MD, PhD

                  Associate Professor, Medicine
                  Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism


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                  Richard M. O'Brien, PhD

                  Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  Diabetes and the Glucose-6-Phosphatase Gene Family


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                  Cayla Ontko

                  Graduate Student, Penn Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and finished high school in Anaheim, California. I went to undergrad at Vanderbilt University where I majored in Biological Sciences and minored in Chemistry and Studio Art. In 2018, I graduated and began my PhD in Vanderbilt’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. I currently work in John S. Penn’s lab in the department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, studying the anti-inflammatory potential of endocannabinoids to slow the disease progression of diabetic retinopathy.

                  The ultimate goal of my thesis project is to determine if endocannabinoids (eCB) can slow DR disease progression by decreasing cytokine-promoted inflammation. Inflammatory cytokines are elevated in the vitreous and retina of diabetic patients and animals respectively, causing damage to the retinal vasculature known as diabetic retinopathy (DR). Previously, eCB-related epoxides have been shown to inhibit DR-simulated inflammation in vitro and in vivo, however, it is proposed that eCB are more suitable for therapeutic adaptation due to increased stability and known cognate receptors. In particular, eCB may be more potent working through cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), whose activation has been shown to mitigate cellular and tissue inflammation. We hypothesize that the increased inflammation caused by diabetic retinal conditions, as well as the retina’s pro-inflammatory response to this environmental inflammation, can be mitigated by increasing eCB levels and/or CB2 activation. Knowledge gained from focused in vitro studies will facilitate the development of eCB-related therapeutic strategies against the inflammation-driven progression of DR.


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                  Anna Osipovich, PhD

                  Research Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  Characterization of endocrine progenitor cells and acinar to beta cell transdifferentiation


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                  Emily Overway

                  Graduate Student, O'Brien Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  I’m a second-year graduate student in Richard O’Brien’s lab. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, I attended Purdue University where I received my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and researched epigenetics and chromatin remodeling. My current research project is investigating the feasibility of G6PC2 as a drug target for lowering fasting blood glucose levels using molecular biology and computational approaches. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and cuddling with my dog.


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                  Patrick S. Page-McCaw, PhD

                  Research Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                  Genetics of autonomic regulation of the heart; Regulation of glycan metabolism in signaling; Crispr/Cas9 mutagenesis of the zebrafish


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                  Charles R. "Rollo" Park, M.D.

                  Professor and Chairman, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1952-1984
                  Professor Emeritus

                  During his more than 3 decades of leadership in the Department of Physiology, Dr. Park’s research efforts with the group of investigators he recruited to Vanderbilt yielded tremendous advancements in the understanding of a variety of metabolic processes.  These include the regulation of glucose entry into cells by insulin, hormonal control of gluconeogenesis and glycolysis, and intracellular actions of hormones acting via cyclic AMP and its protein kinase.  Two of his many honors include the Banting Award of the American Diabetes Association in 1979 and election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1980.


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                    Sachin Patel, MD PhD

                    Professor, Psychiatry
                    Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                    Our research program focuses on the role of endocannabinoids in stress-induced neuroadaptation.


                    Dungene Peng, PhD

                    Research Fellow / Mchaourab Lab, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                    John S. Penn, PhD

                    Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
                    Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
                    Snyder Chair, Medical Education and Administration
                    Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
                    Professor , Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                    Professor

                    A Molecular and Cellular Characterization of Ocular Angiogenesis


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                    Yasminye Pettway

                    Graduate Student, Powers Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                    I’m originally from Birmingham, AL. I graduated from Duke University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Computational Biology/Bioinformatics. I completed a gap year in the UAB PREP Scholars Program before joining the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program in 2018. I’m currently a graduate student in the Powers & Brissova Research Group, where I study interactions between alpha and beta cells in the human islet and alpha cell dysfunction in type 1 diabetes. Outside of science and medicine, my professional interests include mentorship and increasing diversity in STEM fields. My hobbies include quilting and trying out new restaurants in Nashville.


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                    Simon J. Pilkis, M.D., Ph.D.

                    Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1972-1986

                    The research area pursued by Dr. Pilkis involved hormonal control of hepatic gluconeogenesis and glycolysis via alterations in enzyme activities.  He discovered fructose-2,6-bisphosphate, the key allosteric modulator of phosphofructokinase and fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, the bifunctional enzyme which synthesizes and degrades this regulator, and identified the gene that encodes this protein.  This led to his extensive study of the hormonally-mediated regulation of the enzymatic activities of the bifunctional enzyme, including studies of its genetic expression.  Dr. Pilkis became Professor and Chairman of Physiology and Biophysics at The State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1986.


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                      Julia Pinette

                      Graduate Student, Zaganjor Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                      I am from New Hampshire and earned my BS in Biology at Keene State College in Keene, NH. I am a competitive Olympic weightlifter and spend my remaining time watching anime and playing videogames. I am interested in how mitochondrial metabolism, specifically branched chain amino acid catabolism, regulates adipose tissue homeostasis. Currently, I am investigating the protective role of SIRT4-mediated BCAA catabolism in regulating adipocyte hypertrophy in response to chronic overnutrition.


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                      Robert L. Post, M.D.

                      Instructor, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1948-1991

                      Dr. Post is credited with identifying the sodium and potassium ATPase active transporter of cell membranes, which is responsible for maintaining the proper concentrations of sodium and potassium in cells. Dr. Post pursued highly successful studies on the mechanism of action and energetics of the transporter, the results of which have also been extended to an understanding of many other transport systems.  Among his many honors and awards is the 1983 Cole Award from the Biophysical Society.


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                        Alvin C. Powers, MD

                        Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science, Medicine, and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                        Professor, Vanderbilt Diabetes Center
                        Director, Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology
                        Director

                        Pancreatic Islet Biology, Vascularization, Development, Regeneration, and Imaging; Diabetes

                        https://www.powersbrissovaresearch.org/

                         

                         


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                        Ambra Pozzi, PhD

                        Professor, Medicine
                        Professor, Cancer Biology
                        Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                        Role of arachidonic acid derived lipids in angiogenesis and tumorigenesis


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                        Suhaila Rahman, PhD

                        Research Fellow, Mchaourab Lab

                        In Mchaourab’s lab I study the functional dynamics of neurotransmitter transporters that are involved in neurological diseases


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                        Jeffrey Rathmell, PhD

                        Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Immunobiology, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
                        Director, Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology


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                        Silvia Ravera, Ph.D.

                        Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                        Patsy Raymer

                        Administrative Manager, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and Quantitative Systems Biology


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                        Elizabeth Rendina-Ruedy, Ph.D.

                        Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
                        Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophyiscs


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                        Marcela (Andrea) Reyna-Neyra, Ph.D.

                        Research Instructor, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophyiscs


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                        Tiffany Richardson

                        Graduate Student, Powers-Brissova Laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                        I’m currently a PhD candidate in the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics department at Vanderbilt University. I received my undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 2017 with a degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Engineering Biology. At Princeton, I investigated the biophysical dynamics and interactions within the nucleolus using novel optogenetic systems. I’m a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellow and an Endocrine Society Future Leaders in Endocrinology (FLARE) Fellow.

                        As a member of the Powers-Brissova Research Group, I have worked to elucidate the innervation landscape within the exocrine and endocrine portions of the human pancreas. I’m also studying the effects of ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase 3 (NTPDase3) on hormone secretion and whole-body glucose homeostasis in mouse models and human islets. Upon completion of my doctoral degree, I’m interested in pursuing a career in scientific communication or a post-doctoral position in the diabetes field.


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                        David Charles Samuels, PhD

                        Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                        Mitochondrial genetics and diseases. Toxicity mechanisms of HIV treatment. Pathogenesis of protein variations.


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                        Linda J. Sealy, PhD

                        Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                        Associate Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
                        Associate Professor, Cancer Biology

                        Identifying the transcription factors that control the conversion to EMT and metastasis in breast cancer.


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                        Brinda Selvaraj, Ph.D.

                        Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                        Elizabeth Semler

                        Graduate Student, Vickers Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                        I was born and raised in upstate New York. After graduating from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a B.S degree in Biochemistry, I spent two years working at the National Cancer Institute under Chris Westlake, and then spent a year working under Dr. George Church at Harvard Medical School. I am glad to have found my home at Vanderbilt with the Vickers’ Lab where I study host-pathogen interactions, cell-cell communication, and microbial small RNAs. When I am not in lab, I love to travel and experience the outdoors. I spent a year with Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, and have a mission to visit as many countries around the world as I can. I am always looking for my next adventure, and I especially love hiking, skiing, and acro/aerial yoga.


                        Chiyo Shiota, Ph.D.

                        Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                        Masakazu Shiota, DVM, PhD

                        Research Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                        Hepatic Glucose Flux Regulation in Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.


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                        Richard B. Simerly, Ph.D.

                        Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                        We study how environmental factors, such as nutrition and hormones, impact the development of neural circuits that control behavior and metabolism in order to better understand how early events in an individual’s life influence traits like feeding and metabolic physiology.

                         


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                        Charles (Duncan) Smart

                        Graduate Student, Madhur Laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                        I’m a third year graduate student in the Madhur lab interested in inflammation and cardiovascular disease. After graduating from the University of Texas, I joined the Vanderbilt MSTP in 2016. My thesis project focuses on the role of immune activation in chronic cardiovascular remodeling and hypertension. I’m particularly interested in “bedside to bench” research, taking notable findings from human samples back to model systems to better understand biological mechanisms underlying physiology and disease.


                        Dollada Srisai, Ph.D.

                        Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                        John Michael Stafford, MD, PhD

                        Associate Professor, Medicine
                        Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                        Cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes and obesity. Lipid Metabolism and HDL, Sex-differences in metabolism


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                        Jade Stanley

                        Graduate Student, Dean Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                        I am Jade Stanley, a 2nd year PhD student in the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics program. My interests include touring art museums, exploring botanical gardens, and spending time with family. I am currently in Dr. Danielle Dean’s lab where we study how organs communicate to regulate nutrient homeostasis and how this is dysregulated in obesity and diabetes. Our research focuses on the liver-pancreatic islet alpha cell axis, especially how liver and pancreatic islet cells sense amino acids and how amino acid sensing and metabolism may be disrupted in obesity and diabetes. Currently, I am interested in how amino acid transporters and enzymes affect islet cell proliferation and hormone secretion especially glucagon secretion from alpha cells, a potential target for new diabetes treatments.


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                        Richard A. Stein, PhD

                        Research Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                        Roland W. Stein, PhD

                        Mark Collie Chair in Diabetes Research, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                        Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
                        Professor

                        Focused on defining the transcription factors involved in controlling the expression of Pdx-1 and MafA. In addition, we are examining how transcriptional factors influence beta cell formation and function.


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                        James S. Sutcliffe, PhD

                        Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                        Associate Professor, Psychiatry

                        Genetic basis of autism spectrum disorders; molecular genetics; statistical genetics; epigenetics, neuropsychiatric genetics; phenotypic dissection of complex genetic disorders (autism, anxiety, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other related conditions)


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                        Earl W. Sutherland, Jr., M.D.

                        Professor, Physiology / Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1963-1973

                        Dr. Sutherland’s discovery of adenyl cyclase and cyclic AMP was a seminal contribution and led to the concept of intracellular second messenger signaling.  His research linking changes in intracellular enzyme activity to hormones such as glucagon and epinephrine provided a foundation for subsequent decades of work in the areas of  hormonal regulation of intracellular metabolism and other processes.  These important contributions resulted in election to the National Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1971 for Dr. Sutherland.


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                          Serena Sweet

                          Graduate Student, Simerly Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                          I am a third year graduate student in Dr. Richard Simerly’s lab. I attended the University of Miami where I graduated with degrees in Neuroscience and Anthropology, and my interest in research developed during my time there.  I am interested in developmental neuroscience. A fundamental requirement for all organisms is to coordinate the regulation of fluid and energy balance. While feeding and drinking are coordinated and points of interaction have been identified, the neuroanatomical basis for the integration of feeding and drinking has not been defined, nor has the dependence on the development of those circuitries been examined. The overarching premise of my project is to determine if activation of neural circuits regulating drinking during a critical period of development of hypothalamic feeding circuits impacts the neural architecture of those feeding circuits with lasting consequences for energy balance regulation. The results of my studies will not only facilitate an improved understanding of how the brain integrates drinking and feeding by defining nodes of convergence, but will provide new insight into unappreciated developmental events impacting metabolic phenotypes throughout life.


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                          Kristen Syring, BS

                          Graduate Student, O'Brien laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                          The prevalence type 2 diabetes (T2D) continues to increase worldwide. Multiple SNPs associated with altered risk of T2D have been identified through genome wide association studies including rs13266634 in the SLC30A8 locus, which encodes zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8). In addition, rare mutations resulting in SLC30A8 haploinsufficiency are protective against T2D. Using several mouse models, we are investigating the role that ZnT8 plays in beta cell function and the potential of ZnT8 as a therapeutic target for T2D.

                          • : 8415 MRB IV


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                          Hirohide Takahashi, Ph.D.

                          Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophyiscs


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                          Alex Thiemicke, MS, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena Germany

                          Graduate Student, Neurt laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics


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                          Darian Thomas

                          Graduate Student, Gannon Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                          The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease hypothesis postulates that the in utero environment has an influence on disease susceptibility into adulthood. In the Gannon lab, I investigate how maternal diet and metformin intake influence pancreatic beta cell development in offspring. We work in a multi-institutional non human primate consortium that investigates the impact of in utero exposure to diet on fetal development. Originally from Spartanburg,SC, I got my Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Clemson University in 2018. Outside of the lab, I like to focus my efforts on mental health advocacy, diversity efforts, and listening to good music.


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                          Shannon Townsend

                          Graduate Student, Gannon laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                          I grew up in Queens, NY and graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in neuroscience. Outside of lab, I enjoy learning digital art, checking out new coffee shops, cooking and playing games with friends. My thesis project involves examining the role of matricellular protein, CCN2, which has been demonstrated to induce insulin-producing β-cell proliferation during conditions both in vivo and ex vivo. I will identify the role of CCN2 in β-cell proliferation during high-fat diet and investigate the mechanism by which it has its action using a transgenic embryonic mouse model of β-cell specific c-Met inactivation. Through my studies, I will uncover more information about how CCN2 induces β-cell proliferation, uncovering a role for CCN2 as a potential therapeutic for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D).


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                          Rohit Venkat

                          Graduate Student, Neuert Laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                          In the Neuert Lab, I study long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), a class of non-protein coding transcripts that represents an emerging, previously unrecognized layer of gene regulation.  LncRNAs have been shown to mediate important biological processes ranging from cell cycle progression and cellular reprogramming to dosage compensation in mammalian development, but their mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. I work toward addressing these fundamental knowledge gaps.


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                          Kasey C. Vickers, Ph.D.

                          Associate Professor, Medicine
                          Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                          To investigate mechanisms and consequences of HDL microRNA communication and systemic homeostasis. Short term goals include the characterization of microRNA regulatory modules controlling cholesterol biosynthesis. Moreover, we aim to determine i.) How microRNAs are selected and exported to HDL, ii.) How microRNAs are transported on HDL and altered in disease, and iii.) How microRNAs are transferred to recipient cells and regulate genes related to cholesterol and lipoprotein homeostasis.


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                          Katie Volk

                          Graduate Student, Hasty Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                          Hi there! My name is Katie Volk and I am a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Alyssa Hasty. I am originally from just outside Los Angeles, CA and arrived at Vanderbilt after completing my undergraduate degree at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. In the Hasty lab, I study the role that microglial cells play in either propagating or protecting against Alzheimer’s Disease and neurodegenerative pathology. Particularly, Alzheimer’s Disease is often characterized by neuroinflammation and excessive brain iron load; and I am interested in understanding the dual roles that microglia play in dictating changes in inflammation and iron-handling in the brain. Ultimately, my hope is that this work contributes to our growing understanding of Alzheimer’s pathology and eventually aids in the development of successful therapeutics in the future.


                          Sun Waldron

                          Vanderbilt Neurochemistry


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                            John (Jack) Walker

                            Graduate Student, Powers laboratory, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

                            I am an MD/PhD student who joined the lab of Al Powers and Marcela Brissova in 2016. I am originally from Kansas City and did my undergraduate work at Washington University in St. Louis. In undergrad, I worked on research projects that used novel chemical techniques to elucidate protein structure and function. In the Powers and Brissova lab, I am interested in mechanisms of human islet function and dysfunction and use unique models including in vivo transplantation of human islets and dispersion and reaggregation of islet cells to form pseudoislets. I am also characterizing the functional, morphologic, and transcriptional profiles of islets, sorted α and β cells, and pancreatic tissue from individuals with type 2 diabetes and using viral manipulation in the pseudoislet system to understand mechanisms of islet dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. I plan to pursue a career as a physician-scientist in pediatric endocrinology upon his return to medical school.


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                            Jeanne M. Wallace, DVM

                            Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
                            University Veterinarian, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                            Director Division of Animal Care
                            Associate Professor
                            Associate Professor

                            Diseases of nonhuman primates

                            Animal models of obesity and metabolic syndrome


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                            Quan Wang, Ph.D.

                            Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                            David H Wasserman, PhD

                            Annie Mary Lyle Chair, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                            Professor, Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center
                            Director

                            We study the role of physical exercise, insulin-stimulation and diet in metabolism.


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                            Qiang Wei, Ph.D.

                            Research Instructor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


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                            P. Anthony Weil, PhD

                            Professor Emeritus, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                            Molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation


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                            John P. Wikswo, Jr, PhD

                            Gordon A. Cain University Professor, Biomedical Engineering
                            A. B. Learned Professor of Living Physics, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
                            Professor
                            Professor

                            Development and application of microdevices for instrumenting and controlling single living cells


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                            Danny G. Winder, Ph.D.

                            Director, Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research (VCAR)
                            Bixler-Johnson-Mayes Professor, Departments of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Pharmacology, and Psychiatry

                            Synaptic mechanisms in addiction and anxiety.


                            Jason Winnick, PhD

                            Adjoint Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                            The effect of aerobic exercise training on in vivo hepatic glucose metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus


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                            Jamey D. Young, PhD

                            Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
                            Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                            Metabolic engineering; systems biology; diabetes, obesity and metabolic disorders; tumor metabolism; autotrophic metabolism; cell culture engineering


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                            Elma Zaganjor, Ph.D.

                            Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                            The Zaganjor laboratory investigates the role of mitochondrial function in cell fate decisions and the implications of this regulation in physiology. Importantly, we are focused on identifying how altered mitochondrial function leads to pathology.


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                            Baltazar Zuniga

                            Graduate Student, Young Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

                            I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2019 with honors degrees in Liberal Arts(Plan II) and Biochemistry. My research interests include microbial soil-ecology and the relationship between circadian physiology and cyanobacterial bioproduction.