Han lab has engaged in dynamic research programs addressing important biological problems related to human diseases, primarily using C. elegans and mouse. The lab always aims for important questions in relatively unexplored areas and encourages researchers to generate their own ideas. In the early 90s, the lab focused on identifying key regulators of the RTK-RAS-MAP kinase signaling, and then extended efforts to tackling genetic redundancy. In the late 90s, some researchers moved to study cellular/morphogenesis events during development, including discovering the SUN-KASH NE complexes and their functions. The lab has also made breakthrough advances in studying the functions of miRNAs and non-canonic caspase activities using systematic methods. In recent years, the lab discovered four novel nutrient sensing mechanisms that regulate development, reproductivity and behavior in response to changes in fatty acids and nucleotide variants. We are also exploring nutrients from gut microbes.
Functions of lipids, lipid metabolism and small RNAs in animal development and behaviors under various physiological conditions, Stress responses, starvation responses, Nucleotide metabolism, C elegans and mouse genetics, nuclear envelope complexes, nutrient response, metabolism, environmental sex determination, nucleotide sensing, non-canonic function of caspases, impact of gut of microbes on animal physiology, iron uptake
MCDB 4150 - Biology of Aging and Longevity
Through lectures and reading assignments, this capstone course will introduce fascinating cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying aging and longevity based on historical and recent research achievements. We will discuss major aging theories and multiple cellular regulatory systems that prominently affect lifespan. The course will integrate basic concepts from multiple other courses by addressing specific physiological problems in the aging field and present students with the opportunity to learn the reasoning process in cutting-edge biomedical research. Recommended prerequisite: MCDB 3135 or MCDB 3145 (minimum grade C-).
MCDB 4425 - Topics in Membrane Biology: Cell Biology, Physiology and Disease
Students will apply their knowledge of basic biology to exploring several of the most exciting topics in biomedicine including protein folding and stress responses, nutrient sensing and balance and signal transduction across membranes. Emphasis will be placed upon human physiology and associated human diseases including Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fulfills MCDB scientific reasoning requirement. Recommended prerequisites: MCDB 3135 and MCDB 3145 or instructor consent. Same as MCDB 5425.
MCDB 4428 - Regulation of Lifespan
Lectures and literature reading/discussion will introduce students to historical, fascinating and cutting-edge research achievements, as well as the basic genetic/biochemical approaches, towards understanding cellular signaling systems and mechanisms that regulate the aging process and lifespan of animals and humans. Through the combination of presentation, discussion, homework and two exams, students will learn the reasoning process of scientific research in the aging field, become familiar with typical experimental approaches and improve their communication ability.
MCDB 4990 - Honors Thesis
Spring 2019 / Spring 2022
Involves the preparation and defense of an honors thesis, based on faculty-supervised original research, including final phases of the research project. Recommended prerequisites: MCDB 4840 or MCDB 4980 or comparable research experience, and minimum GPA of 3.3 and approval by the MCDB Honors Committee.
MCDB 6000 - Introduction to Laboratory Methods
Spring 2018 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
Introduces methodology and techniques used in biological research. Designed as a tutorial between a few students and one faculty member. Students are expected to read original research papers, discuss findings, and to plan and execute experiments in selected areas. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours.