Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Faculty Profiles: MCP

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology


Nagi Ayad, PhD

Nagi Ayad, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
NAyad@med.miami.edu

Our research focuses on cell cycle transitions in the developing nervous system. Our multi-disciplinary approach utilizes whole genome siRNA, cDNA, and small molecule cell-based screens. The latter target kinases, ubiquitin ligases, and epigenetic modulators to design therapies for cancer and neurological diseases.


Antonio Barrientos, PhD

Antonio Barrientos, PhD

Professor, Neurology and 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.


Nanette Bishopric, MD

Nanette Bishopric, MD

Director, UM/Florida Heart Research Institute Cardiovascular Genomics Laboratory
Professor of Pharmacology, Medicine and Pediatrics
nbishopric@med.miami.edu


John Bixby, PhD

John Bixby, PhD

Vice Provost
Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
jbixby@med.miami.edu

Our lab is interested in the signaling mechanisms underlying axonal regeneration in the central nervous system. We are also working on an axonal regeneration knowledge base that can allow automated queries by neuroscientists.


Shaun Brothers, PhD

Shaun Brothers, PhD

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


Peter Buchwald, PhD

Peter Buchwald, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Director, Drug Discovery, Diabetes Research Institute
pbuchwald@med.miami.edu


Kerry Burnstein, PhD

Kerry Burnstein, PhD

Graduate Program Director, Cancer Biology
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
kburnstein@med.miami.edu

The Burnstein lab studies steroid hormone / nuclear receptor signaling in prostate cancer and how receptor cross-talk pathways can be targeted therapeutically. In particular, the roles of androgen receptors (wild type, mutant and constitutively active variants) in driving prostate tumor growth and vitamin D receptors in cancer inhibition are longstanding interests. In recent work, we are examining the therapeutic use and mechanisms of a metastasis-suppressing microRNA cluster in prostate cancer.


Alessia Fornoni, MD, PhD

Alessia Fornoni, MD, PhD

Professor, Medicine
afornoni@med.miami.edu


Bradley Goldstein, MD, PhD

Bradley Goldstein, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Otolaryngology
b.goldstein4@med.miami.edu

Interested in understanding the process of adult neurogenesis in the mammalian olfactory system. Specifically, his work has focused on approaches to define the function of specific stem and progenitor cells.


Abigail Hackam, PhD

Abigail Hackam, PhD

Associate Professor, Ophthalmology
ahackam@med.miami.edu

We study the cellular mechanism of photoreceptor degeneration, the role of inflammation in photoreceptor survival signaling and neuronal-glial interactions and ocular tumor stem cells.



Joshua Hare, MD

Joshua Hare, MD

Director, Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute
Louis Lemberg Professor, Medicine
jhare@med.miami.edu


Daniel Isom, PhD

Daniel Isom, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
disom@med.miami.edu

The Isom lab develops computer algorithms, biophysical assays, and cell-based experimental approaches to study how pH regulates protein structure, function, and stability. Current studies in the Isom lab are focused on 1) pH regulation of cell surface receptors, 2) protein electroinformatics, 3) cancer informatics, and 4) the discovery of pH-sensing proteins.


Yossef Itzhak, PhD

Yossef Itzhak, PhD

Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Pharmacology
yitzhak@med.miami.edu

Animal models of drug addiction; learning and memory processes involved in the development of addictive behavior.



Michael Kapiloff, MD, PhD

Michael Kapiloff, MD, PhD

Director, Cardiac Signal Transduction and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Professor
mkapiloff@med.miami.edu


Michael Kim, PhD

Michael Kim, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
mkim2@med.miami.edu

Our laboratory focuses on neuronal development and degeneration. We are particularly interested in how different types of neurons take their final shapes and what this can tell us about brain connectivity. We are also interested in the underlying mechanisms that cause motor neurons to degenerate which is important for understanding motor neuron diseases such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).


Sandra Lemmon, PhD

Sandra Lemmon, PhD

Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
Director, MD/PhD Program
slemmon@med.miami.edu

Membrane Transport: Sorting and regulation of protein traffic in the endocytic and secretory pathways and during Autophagy


Wei Li, PhD

Wei Li, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Ophthalmology
w.li@med.miami.edu

My research interests focus on two areas of eye diseases: autoimmune uveitis and retinal degeneration. For autoimmune uveitis, we investigate the mechanism of autoimmune uveitis by identifying and characterizing autoantigens directly from patients with non- invasive molecular biology approaches. For retinal degeneration, we investigate the role of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell phagocytosis in retinal degeneration.


Irene Litosch, PhD

Irene Litosch, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
ilitosch@med.miami.edu

Hormones, neurotransmitters and pharmacological agents regulate most physiological responses, through interaction with GPCRs, which signal with a G protein regulated phospholipase C, to elevate levels of cytosolic calcium.  The contribution of signaling phospholipids, to the strength of the G protein signal, remains largely unexplored.  Understanding the full spectrum of mechanisms, that determine signal amplitude, is important to advance basic and translational research.


Izidore Lossos, MD

Izidore Lossos, MD

Professor, Medicine
Head, Lymphoma Program
ilossos@med.miami.edu


Charles Luetje, PhD

Charles Luetje, PhD

Professor and Chairman, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
cluetje@med.miami.edu

The Luetje Lab studies the structure and function of insect olfactory receptors, with a particular emphasis on ligand recognition. We target these receptors as a means to prevent mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya.


Deborah Mash, PhD

Deborah Mash, PhD

Professor, Neurology
dmash@med.miami.edu

We study gene and epigenetic regulation in addiction, neuropsychiatric and degenerative diseases.


Sandra Merscher-Gomez, PhD

Sandra Merscher-Gomez, PhD

Associate Professor, Nephrology
smerscher@med.miami.edu

Using a basic science and translational research approach, my laboratory is focused on elucidating and understanding the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the development of proteinuria in kidney disease with a focus on focal segmental glomerulorsclerosis (FSGS) and diabetic kidney disease (DKD).


Justin Percival, PhD

Justin Percival, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
j.percival@med.miami.edu


Priyamvada Rai, PhD

Priyamvada Rai, PhD

Associate Professor
prai@med.miami.edu

Defining physiological roles for oxidative stress and DNA damage in aging and tumorigenesis; cellular senescence; oncogenic transformation and signaling


Claudia De Oliveira Rodrigues, PhD

Claudia De Oliveira Rodrigues, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Pharmacology
crodrigues@med.miami.edu

We are interested in identifying target pathways that are essential to preserve endothelial function under stress conditions for therapeutic intervention. My research interests focus on understanding the role of the transcription factor cMyc in vascular progenitors and endothelial cells, and its contribution to endothelial dysfunction and disease. Although cMyc has been widely studied in cancer, its role in vascular function has not been fully explored. Recent findings from our group have shown that cMyc plays an essential role in vascular homeostasis, and is a central regulator of vascular inflammation. We currently have two main undergoing research projects in the laboratory.


Pedro Salas, PhD

Pedro Salas, PhD

Professor
Director, Programs in Biomedical Sciences
psalas@med.miami.edu


Matthias Salathe, MD

Matthias Salathe, MD

Chief, Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Vice Chair for Research
msalathe@med.miami.edu


Stephan Schürer, PhD

Stephan Schürer, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
SSchuerer@med.miami.edu

We work on large-scale integration and modeling of small molecule-protein interaction, systems biology ‘omics’, and chemistry data with the goal to improve translation of disease models into novel functional small molecules.  We apply distributed and parallelized bio- and chemoinformatics tools and build modeling pipelines to understand drug mechanism of action, ‑promiscuity and ‑polypharmacology with a particular focus on kinases and epigenetic bromodomain reader proteins.  In several focused as well as larger-scale projects, we develop formal ontologies (e.g. BioAssay Ontology, Drug Target Ontology), data standards, and end-user multi-tier software applications.


Lina Shehadeh, PhD

Lina Shehadeh, PhD

Assistant Professor, Medicine
lshehadeh@med.miami.edu


Vladlen Slepak, PhD

Professor, Pharmacology
vslepak@med.miami.edu

We investigate molecular mechanisms responsible for cell-to-cell communication in the nervous system and endocrine glands. This basic research is relevant to neuronal regulation of metabolism, diabetes and ocular disorders.  Experiments involve protein-protein interaction analysis, live cell imaging, mouse models and conscientious application of “omics” approaches. A new project develops novel molecular probes (small molecule drugs) to study recently discovered olfactory receptors expressed outside the sensory system, in blood vessels and cancerous cells.


Danuta Szczesna-Cordary, PhD

Danuta Szczesna-Cordary, PhD

Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
dszczesna@med.miami.edu


Marjana Tomic-Canic, PhD

Marjana Tomic-Canic, PhD

Professor, Dermatology
mtcanic@med.miami.edu


Roberto Vazquez-Padron, PhD

Roberto Vazquez-Padron, PhD

Associate Professor, Surgery
rvazquez@med.miami.edu


Fulvia Verde, PhD

Fulvia Verde, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Associate Professor, Molecular Developmental and Cellular Biology
fverde@med.miami.edu


Claes Wahlestedt, MD, PhD

Claes Wahlestedt, MD, PhD

Associate Dean, Therapeutic Innovation
Director, Center for Therapeutic Innovation
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
cwahlestedt@med.miami.edu

We study the role of the noncoding RNAs in schizophrenia, the role of microRNA in the mechanisms of drug dependency, regulatory RNA’s as mediators and biomarkers in Alzheimer’s Disease, the discovery and development of nociception receptor ligands in alcohol dependence, noncoding RNAsepigenomic modulators in Alzheimer’s Disease, the discovery of a potent and selective neuropeptide YY2 receptor antagonist probes, and comprehensive analysis of FRM1 locus transcriptional landscape.



Keith Webster, PhD

Keith Webster, PhD

Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology
kwebster@med.miami.edu


R. Grace Zhai, PhD

R. Grace Zhai, PhD

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
gzhai@med.miami.edu

Research in my lab focuses on the genetic and cellular basis of neural development, degeneration and protection using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. We identify and characterize conserved gene functions and phenotypes highly relevant to human neurological diseases.


Fangliang Zhang, PhD

Fangliang Zhang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
fzhang2@med.miami.edu

Our lab is one of the less than ten labs in the world with demonstrated expertise working on posttranslational protein arginylation. Our research focuses on the effects of arginylation on cellular behaviors including cell migration and adhesions, stress response, and programmed cell death. We have a strong interest in the relevancy of arginylation in cardiac development and cancer progression. Test models include bacteria, yeast, mammalian cell lines, mouse, and actual human samples.