One of the major areas of interest in my laboratory over the past 30 years has been understanding the mechanisms whereby the mammalian heart and skeletal system adapts to a wide variety of stimuli and how biologic sex modifies these adaptations. We have shown that male and female hearts and cardiac myocytes have fundamental differences in their function, signaling and molecular biology. My lab has trained many individuals in these areas and many of them occupy prominent leadership positions in cardiovascular academic institutions. I have a strong commitment to training scientists, physicians and physician scientists and participate in many activities that promote career development. 500 mutations in the 10-member striated muscle myosin gene family cause a variety of cardiac and skeletal muscle myopathies. We have invested a great deal of effort into understanding how these mutations affect myosin function using biochemical, cell and mouse genetic approaches. We have intriguing data about an unorthodox myosin, MYH7b that is not expressed in specialized striated muscles, but also in the brain and inner ear. Mutations in MYH7b cause hereditary hearing loss but by unknown mechanisms. We have also recently discovered, through single molecule imaging that myosin molecules travel in and out of sarcomeres very frequently and we are studying the significance of this shuttling and how myosin mutations affect this process.
molecular biology, cardiovascular research, human genetic disease, biophysics, myosin, motor proteins, miRNAs, muscular dystrophy, sex differences, metabolism, genome editing, induced pluripotent stem cells
MCDB 4980 - Honors Research
Spring 2021 / Fall 2021
Provides faculty-supervised research for students who have been approved by the departmental honors committee. Normally taken during the semester before completion of the honors thesis. Recommended prerequisite: MCDB 4840 or comparable research experience, and minimum GPA of 3.20.
MCDB 4990 - Honors Thesis
Spring 2018 / Spring 2021 / 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 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / 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.