MPB Research Interests
Click on the links below to found out about the varied interests of the MPB faculty.
These faculty members use diverse biophysical techniques to probe protein, cellular and whole animal structure and physiology. These techniques include electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, magnetic resonance imaging, and fluorescence cell imaging.
These MPB faculty are also active participants in the Center for Structural Biology, the Vanderbilt Institute for Imaging Science, the Cell Imaging Shared Resource and the Molecular Biophysics Training Program.
This group is interested in understanding the tissue-specific roles of hormones, neurotransmitters an other molecules in modulating whole animal physiology and pathophysiology, such as diabetes.
These MPB faculty are also active participants in the Diabetes Research and Training Center, the Digestive Disease Research Center, the Institute for Obesity and Metabolism and the Center for Stem Cell Biology. The department is also the institutional home for the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center.
Several MPB faculty members study the role of genetic variation in the risk of disease and/or use genetic models to test the impact of variation in vitro or in vivo. Major themes under this rubric include (1) genome-wide search for sporadic and inherited risk variants for neurological and metabolic disorders, which increasingly leverages the Vanderbilt BioVU Repository; (2) testing the effect of altered gene expression, mutation or disease-associated variants (knock-out, knock-down or knock-in) on protein, functional networks, physiology and behavior; and (3) exploring fundamental mechanisms involved in control of gene expression in normal development and in disease states.
Several MPB faculty members are interested in the fundamental molecular mechanisms that regulate synaptic transmission and their role in pathophysiological responses, such as stress, anxiety, addiction and obesity. Faculty focus on the structure and function of ion channels, transporters and signaling molecules, and their roles in various forms of synaptic plasticity. State of the art techniques are also being used to investigate the connectivity between various brain regions that control these complex behaviors.
These MPB faculty are also active participants in the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center. The department also houses the recently established Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research (VCAR), directed by Dr. Danny Winder.
Faculty members in this group are interested in fundamental molecular mechanisms that allow cells to specifically and efficiently respond to hormones, neurotransmitters and other environmental cues. Several labs investigate the biological roles of protein interactions and covalent modifications such as protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation and protein/DNA methylation and/or acetylation in modulating gene transcription.