Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Faculty Profiles: BMB

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Ibolya Edit Andras, PhD

Ibolya Edit Andras, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
iandras@med.miami.edu



Antonio Barrientos, PhD

Antonio Barrientos, PhD

Professor, Neurology
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
abarrientos@med.miami.edu

The main research interest of our lab is on the basic mechanisms that govern the biogenesis of mitochondrial protein complexes in health, disease and aging. We are most specifically interested in the assembly and function of the mitochondrial translation machinery and of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation system components, involved in biological energy transduction.


Eleonore Beurel, PhD

Eleonore Beurel, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
ebeurek@med.miami.edu

We study neuroinflammation in depressive disorders, focusing specifically on Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3). Findings suggest that the pro-inflammatory action of GSK3may contribute to its promotion of mood disorders, providing a potential therapeutic target.


Sanjoy Bhattacharya, PhD

Sanjoy Bhattacharya, PhD

Professor, Ophthalmology
sbhattacharya@med.miami.edu

The Bhattacharya laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach which includes mass spectrometric proteomic and lipidomic approaches to study neurodegenerative diseases. The major focus is a group of progressive irreversible blinding diseases collectively called glaucoma and also a group of demyelinating diseases termed multiple sclerosis that frequently is associated with visual impairment preceding neurological deficits. The lab also has an interest in basic visual processes.


Richard Cote, PhD

Richard Cote, PhD

Chairman, Pathology-Anatomic
Professor, Pathology-Anatomic

rcote@med.miami.edu



Sylvia Daunert, PhD

Sylvia Daunert, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Lucille P. Markey Chair, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

sdaunert@med.miami.edu



Sapna Deo, PhD

Sapna Deo, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

sdeo@med.miami.edu



Murray Paul Deutscher, PhD

Murray Paul Deutscher, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

m.deutscher@med.miami.edu



Shanta Dhar, PhD

Shanta Dhar, PhD

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

shantadhar@med.miami.edu

Our research is at the interface of chemistry and biology with particular emphasis on nanocarrier mediated intracellular delivery of payloads for potential applications in various diseases. Our research is directed to develop organelle targeted nanoparticles and to study nanoparticle assisted targeted delivery for possible applications in cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and to provide the scientific community with valuable knowledge that can guide into the discovery of potential drug candidates and vaccines.


Sung Yong Eum, PhD

Sung Yong Eum, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

seum@med.miami.edu



Mohammad Faghihi, MD, PhD

Mohammad Faghihi, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
mfaghihi@med.miami.edu

We study non-protein-coding RNAs and their involvement in neurological and neuropsychological disorders such as: Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Fragile X Syndrome.


Amjad Farooq, PhD

Amjad Farooq, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

a.farooq@miami.edu



Flavia Fontanesi, PhD

Flavia Fontanesi, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

ffontanesi@med.miami.edu



Alessia Fornoni, MD, PhD

Alessia Fornoni, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine

afornoni@med.miami.edu



Feng Gong, PhD

Feng Gong, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

fgong@med.miami.edu



J. William Harbour, MD

J. William Harbour, MD

Director, Ocular Oncology
Mark J. Daily Chair, Ophthalmology
Vice Chairman, Translational Research

harbour@med.miami.edu

Clinical Trials for High Risk Uveal Melanoma and Retinoblastoma, Intraocular Lymphoma, Hereditary Eye Tumors, Ocular Biopsy, Using Genetic and Genomic Methods to Develop New Diagnostic, Prognostic and Therapeutic Technologies for Eye Cancers.


Thomas Harris, PhD

Thomas Harris, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Associate Professor, Chemistry

tharris@med.miami.edu



Guy A. Howard, PhD

Guy A. Howard, PhD

Research Professor of Medicine
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

ghoward1@med.miami.edu



Chaitanya Jain, PhD

Chaitanya Jain, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

cjain@med.miami.edu

DEAD-box proteins comprise a large class of RNA-remodeling proteins, whose cellular functions are poorly understood. We are interested in determining the cellular targets of two E. coli DEAD-box proteins and the mechanisms through which these proteins regulate RNA function.


Joaquin Jimenez, PhD

Joaquin Jimenez, PhD

Research Professor

j.jimenez@med.miami.edu



Richard Jope, PhD

Richard Jope, PhD

Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
rjope@med.miami.edu

We study the neurochemical basis of behavior, especially how altered gene expression and neuronal plasticity affect mood and cognition. We focus on how the immune system interacts with the brain in depression, manic-depression (bipolar disorder), and neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis to understand mechanisms that regulate the activity of signal transduction systems and how these are dysfunctional in psychiatric diseases.


Byron Lam, MD

Byron Lam, MD

Professor, Ophthalmology
Robert Z. & Nancy J. Greene Chair, Ophthalmology

blam@med.miami.edu



Ralf Landgraf, PhD

Ralf Landgraf, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

RLandgraf@med.miami.edu



Stephen Lee, PhD

Stephen Lee, PhD


Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
stephenlee@med.miami.edu

The laboratory studies mechanisms involved in the cellular adaptation to the adverse environmental conditions commonly found within the tumor microenvironment (hypoxia and extracellular acidosis). These extracellular stimuli alter fundamental cellular pathways by 1) activating an alternate translation apparatus that synthesizes proteins only in the absence of oxygen and 2) inducing a new class of long noncoding RNAs that regulate protein function. Ongoing projects blend basic and translational scientific research from the identification of novel stress-induced long noncoding RNA to discovery of drug as small molecular inhibitors for these essential tumor biology pathways.


Fan Liu, PhD

Fan Liu, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

fliu@med.miami.edu



Xue Zhong Liu, PhD

Xue Zhong Liu, PhD

Director of Center for Communication Sciences & Disorders
Director of Miami Otogenetic Program
Leonard M. Miller Professor, Otolaryngology; Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Pediatrics

x.liu1@med.miami.edu



Arun Malhotra, PhD

Arun Malhotra, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

amalhotra@med.miami.edu



Richard Myers, PhD

Richard Myers, PhD

Lecturer

rmyers@med.miami.edu



Zafar Nawaz, PhD

Zafar Nawaz, PhD

Senior Assoc Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Assoc Research Director, Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute

znawaz@med.miami.edu



Charles Nemeroff, PhD

Charles Nemeroff, PhD

Professor and Chair, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
cnemeroff@med.miami.edu

His research has concentrated on the biological basis of the major neuropsychiatric disorders. His clinical research is focused on the use of genetic, neuroendocrine, neuroimaging and neurochemical methods to comprehensively understand the pathophysiology of depression.


Stephen Nimer, MD

Stephen Nimer, MD

Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
snimer@med.miami.edu

Dr. Nimer has spent several decades conducting basic science and clinical research into the genetic basis and treatment of hematological malignancies. His laboratory has been trying to decipher the normal and abnormal regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of genes implicated in hematopoiesis and the biological mechanisms that control the formation of blood cells. The ultimate goal of his research is to identify new critical, cellular mechanism implicated in leukemogenesis and develop molecularly targeted therapies.


Min Seon Park, PhD

Min Seon Park, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

mspark@med.miami.edu



David J. Robbins, PhD

David J. Robbins, PhD

Associate Professor of Surgery

drobbins@med.miami.edu


Developmental signaling pathways, such as those driven by Hedgehog and Wnt, are constitutively active in many of the most common human cancers, where they affect the mortality and morbidity of large numbers of cancer patients. My laboratory is focused on elucidating the rate limiting steps in these signaling pathways, and then targeting them with novel small molecule inhibitors. We have identified a number of FDA approved drugs that can be quickly repurposed to treat patients harboring Hedgehog or Wnt driven cancers, one small molecule that was recently designated by the FDA for the orphan precancerous disorder familial adenomatous polyposis, and a novel small molecule Wnt inhibitor in late stage preclinical development. Currently, the lab is investigating the role constitutive Hedgehog or Wnt signaling play in pediatric brain tumors, as well as in colorectal and esophageal cancer.


Richard Rotundo, PhD

Richard Rotundo, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology
rrotundo@med.miami.edu

Our laboratory focuses on the regulation of neurotransmission via the enzyme, acetyl cholinesterase. We study: 1) The contributions of protein folding and assembly in regulating active molecules at synapses. 2) The development of novel probes for identifying cholinergic synapses. 3) RNA binding proteins that control protein translation at muscle and neuronal synapses in response to specific signals. 4) The repair of neuromuscular and CNS cholinergic synapse following acetylcholinesterase inactivation.


Kenneth Rudd, PhD

Kenneth Rudd, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

krudd@med.miami.edu



Joyce Slingerland, MD, PhD

Joyce Slingerland, MD, PhD

Associate Director, Translational Research
Director, Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute
Professor, Medicine

jslingerland@med.miami.edu

Dr. Slingerland’s research interests include: breast cancer, molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and hormone effects on cell cycle regulation and breast cancer cell growth, breast cancer stem cells as targets for therapy and the role of estrogen receptors in breast cancer.


Michal Toborek, MD, PhD

Michal Toborek, MD, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Vice Chair for Research

mtoborek@med.miami.edu

Specific interests in Dr. Toboreks laboratory involve studies on the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and how different pathological conditions can lead to the disruption and/or dysfunction of the BBB. Several projects are focused on HIV-1 trafficking into the brain. Another area of interest of Dr. Toboreks laboratory is connected to the effects of drugs of abuse on the brain endothelium.  Molecular mechanisms of cerebrovascular toxicity induced by methamphetamine alone and in combination with HIV are studied both in in vitro and in vivo experimental setting.


Omaida Velazquez, MD, PhD

Omaida Velazquez, MD, PhD

Chief, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Director, Vascular Laboratory, University of Miami Hospital
Professor, Surgery
Vice Chairman for Research Department of Surgery

ovelazquez@med.miami.edu

Dr. Velazquezs current research focuses on further understanding and advancing new treatments for lower extremity arterial occlusive disease and diabetes-related wound healing defects. Dr. Velazquez is the Principal Investigator of a NIH-funded basic science laboratory that investigates endothelial cell biology, angiogenesis, and vasculogenesis. Her clinical expertise focuses on endovascular and other minimally invasive approaches in the surgical treatment of vascular diseases. She has extensive expertise in both open and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, open and endovascular treatments for carotid, mesenteric, and renal stenosis and novel treatments for critical limb ischemia.


Claes Wahlestedt,, MD, PhD

Claes Wahlestedt,, MD, PhD

Associate Dean for Therapeutic Innovation
Director, Center for Therapeutic Innovation
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

CWahlestedt@med.miami.edu


William Whelan, PhD, DSc, FRS

William Whelan, PhD, DSc, FRS

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

wwhelan@med.miami.edu



Mingjiang Xu

Mingjiang Xu

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

mxx51@miami.edu



Feng-Chun Yang, PhD

Feng-Chun Yang, PhD

Primary Appointment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

fxy37@med.miami.edu


The role of ASXL1 and NF1 in the pathogenesis of myeloid malignancies.
The role of ASXL2 mutations in the pathogenesis of myeloid malignancies.
To identify novel therapeutic targets and to develop rational therapies to treat myeloid malignancies.


Yanbin Zhang, PhD

Yanbin Zhang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

yzhang4@med.miami.edu


Interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) are among the most toxic DNA lesions, since they covalently tether both duplex DNA strands and prevent essential DNA metabolism such as replication and transcription. Deficient ICL repair underlies the cancer-prone hereditary syndrome Fanconi anemia. We are interested in deciphering the molecular mechanism of ICL repair, delineating role of Fanconi anemia proteins in DNA repair, and studying the relationship between Fanconi anemia proteins and human cancers. Our research relies on a biochemically defined reconstitution system and cell-based analyses.