Research

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Research focus areas:

Cancer &  infectious diseases

Cancer and infectious diseases

Researching the fundamental aspects of how cancer cells proliferate and metastasize, how inflammatory and immunological responses are modulated during infection and what the structural basis of virus host cell interaction are.

Image: Visualization of precancerous lung cells actively proliferating by labeling with Ki67 antibody. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jill Siegfried.

 

medium spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens

Neuropharmacology and neurodegeneration

Innovative research directed at mechanisms of neuronal function under normal conditions and in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Image: Medium spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens. Photo courtesy of Dr. Anna Lee.

Cell signaling

Cell signaling

Investigating a spectrum of cellular and molecular processes regulating the mammalian genome in healthy cells, as well as how they may go wrong in diseased conditions.

Image: Activation of ITAM and TLR signaling cascades at the macrophage plasma membrane. Image courtesy of Dr. Tanya Freedman.

 

Addiction

Drug addiction and toxicology

Using multidisciplinary approaches involving cell and animal models to address drug addiction’s key questions: why some individuals transit from casual drug use to addiction, and why drug relapse is so common.

Faculty lab highlights

The molecular basis of addiction

The Lee Lab uses a multi-disciplinary approach to study how regulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors affects neuronal function and behavior in mouse models of addiction and affective disorders.

Mechanisms disrupted in cancer

The Levinson Lab studies how protein-protein interactions induce conformational changes at a distance, a phenomenon termed allostery. Allosteric regulation mechanisms that tightly control protein function are widespread in biology, and their disruption is often linked to disease.

Cells in the immune system

The Freedman Lab aims to understand macrophage and lymphocyte signaling with the goal of undertanding how inflammation and dysregulation can affect cell sensitivity and exacerbate disease, how protein-protein interactions at the plasma membrane regulate signaling, and how receptor clustering enables signaling. 

Dysregulation of cell excitability

The Wickman Laboratory seeks to better understand molecules and mechanisms that control excitability, so that safer and more effective strategies can be developed to treat afflictions such as cardiac arrhythmias, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, Down Syndrome, addiction, and pain.