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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Faculty & Staff

  • Karen Berkowitz, MD*

    Associate Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Obstetrics & Gynecology
    Research Interests: Mammalian germ cell development, Molecular mechanisms governing gametogenesis

  • Michael Bouchard, PhD

    Director, Division of Biomedical Science Programs; Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Liver cancer; hepatocyte transformation; calcium signaling; apoptosis; cell proliferation; alcohol; novel liver models; hepatitis B virology and hepatic cancer; HBx protein and hepatitis viral replication; calcium signaling and its role in cellular transformation; fatty liver disease and the gut microbiome axis

  • Irwin Chaiken, PhD

    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Protein interactions in health and disease, structure-based antagonism of HIV-1 Env, recombinant protein/peptidomimetic/small molecule inhibitor design and mechanism of action

  • Jessica Chen, PhD

    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Graduate student education & on-line programs; previous research focused on beta-adrenergic signaling in cardiovascular disease

  • Patrick Loll, PhD

    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: X-ray crystallography and protein biophysics; integral membrane protein structure; antibiotic resistance; mechanism of drug action; protein homeostasis

  • Eishi Noguchi, PhD

    Professor; Director, Graduate Program in Molecular & Cellular Biology & Genetics
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Genome maintenance mechanisms relevant to the biology of cancer and aging, including DNA replication, DNA repair, DNA damage response and cell cycle checkpoints; investigating the mechanisms required for preservation of genomic integrity in response to environmental factors and toxins, including alcohol and aldehydes

  • Shae Padrick, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Kinetic mechanism of signal integration; X-ray crystallography and protein biophysics; cell biology; cytoskeleton dynamics; protein complexes

  • Mauricio Reginato, PhD

    Professor and Interim Chair; Director, Graduate Program in Cancer Biology
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms underlying breast cancer growth, survival and spread to distinct organs, in particular how cancer genes alter metabolic pathways and how these pathways may be exploited to target cancers

  • Noreen Robertson, DMD

    Associate Vice Dean for Research
    Research Interests: Cancer and inflammatory disease

  • Christian Sell, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Biology of aging; neuroendocrine networks.

  • Srinivas Somarowthu, PhD

    Assistant Professor; Director, Biochemistry of Health and Disease Program
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Long non-coding RNAs; non-coding RNAs in viral genomes; RNA-protein complexes; molecular modeling and bioinformatics

  • Todd Strochlic, PhD, VMD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Protein kinases, oncogenic signaling, breast cancer, and Drosophila oogenesis

Retired Faculty

Jane Azizkhan-Clifford, PhD

Jane Azizkhan-Clifford, PhD

Professor Emerita; Associate Dean for Medical Student Research; Course Director, Cancer Biology
Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Research Interests: Cellular response to DNA damage, regulation of gene expression, cellular proliferation and the cell cycle

Denise Ferrier, PhD

Denise Ferrier, PhD

Professor Emerita

Bradford Jameson, PhD

Bradford Jameson, PhD

Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Research Interests: Medical and graduate student education; previous research focused on structure-based drug design studies for development of immune-regulatory compounds

John Swaney, PhD

John Swaney, PhD

Professor (Retired)

Joint Faculty Appointments

Cameron Abrams, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Secondary Faculty

Cameron Abrams, PhD

Department: Chemical and Biological Engineering
Research Interests: Molecular simulations in biophysics and materials, HIV-1 envelope structure and function, protein-ligand binding thermodynamics and kinetics

Luis Cruz Cruz, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Secondary Faculty

Luis Cruz Cruz, PhD

Department: Physics
Research Interests: Computational studies of confinement effects on the folding of amyloidogenic proteins, spatial correlations of neurons in the brain, firing dynamics of neuronal networks, fluid flow through porous media

Frank Ferrone, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Secondary Faculty

Frank Ferrone, PhD

Department: Physics
Research Interests: Experimental and theoretical protein dynamics, kinetics of biological self-assembly, including sickle cell and Alzheimer's disease, sickle cell testing and diagnostic devices

Dionicio Martinez-Solorio, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Secondary Faculty

Dionicio Martinez-Solorio, PhD

Department: Chemistry
Research Interests: Total synthesis of complex biologically active natural products serving as inspirational platforms for the discovery and development of new reactions and synthetic methods

Aleister Saunders, PhD

Aleister Saunders, PhD

Department: Biology
Research Interests: Identifying and characterizing genes involved in pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), aiming to identify novel therapeutic strategies to delay or prevent onset of AD

Reinhard Schweitzer-Stenner, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Secondary Faculty

Reinhard Schweitzer-Stenner, PhD

Department: Chemistry
Research Interests: Vibrational spectroscopy including IR, vibrational circular dichroism, Raman and resonance Raman spectroscopy, electronic circular dichroism spectroscopy, optical absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, NMR-spectroscopy, determining Ramachandran plots of amino acid residues from vibrational and NMR spectroscopy data, global analysis of spectroscopic data, statistical thermodynamics of unfolded peptides and protein-membrane interactions

Brigita Urbanc, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Secondary Faculty

Brigita Urbanc, PhD

Department: Physics
Research Interests: Computational and experimental biophysics of protein folding and assembly, relevant to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease; discrete molecular dynamics of coarse-grained protein and lipid models

Akhil Vaidya, PhD

Akhil Vaidya, PhD

Research Interests: We investigate mitochondrial physiology, metabolism, and signaling in malaria parasites with a view to discover new drugs and to understand drug resistance.

Michael White, PhD

Michael White, PhD

Research Interests: Ligand-gated ion channels; structure-function relationships; molecular modeling; ligand-receptor interactions

Jian-Min Yuan, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Secondary Faculty

Jian-Min Yuan, PhD

Department: Physics
Research Interests: Biophysics, protein folding/unfolding, protein aggregation, cellular signaling pathways, stochastic dynamics; chemical physics, reaction dyanmics, nonlinear dynamics, interaction of radiation with matter

Adjunct Biochemistry Faculty

Qing Chen, MD, PhD*

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Gordon J. Lutz, PhD

Research Interests: Our major research focus is to develop novel splice modulating oligomers (SMOs) as drugs to treat various serious neurological diseases, neuromuscular/muscular disorders and cancer.

Yulia Nefedova, PhD*

Adjunct Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Joseph Nickels, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
PhD (1993) Microbiology & Immunogenetics, University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey (UMDNJ)
Research Interests: Our laboratory has a basic research focus in two different areas. The first area is aimed at understanding the signals that are used in controlling the cell cycle. Under normal circumstances, the cell cycle is carefully controlled to ensure that cells replicate at the "right time." A loss of appropriate cell cycle signaling can result in uncontrolled growth, which often manifests itself as a form of cancer. The other focus of our laboratory is directed at an understanding of the checks and balances governing sterol synthesis. Sterol synthesis is one of the major therapeutic targets in the control of heart disease. Both of these research projects involve extremely complicated regulatory signals. To aid in our basic understanding, we have adopted the yeast system as a means of addressing our experimental questions.
Phone: 609.570.1046

Kavitha Sarma, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Adjunct Biochemistry Faculty at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Visit Fox Chase Cancer Center

Sanjeevani Arora, PhD

Research Interests: Genetic studies to improve screening, early detection and treatment of cancers; mechanisms underlying genetically undefined hereditary cancers; predictive biomarkers for response to chemoradiation therapy; novel strategies to screen for individuals at high risk for cancer

Alfonso Bellacosa, MD*

Research Interests: DNA repair of mismatched bases and the cellular response to DNA damage. Identification of early genetic alterations in tumorigenesis.

Paul Campbell, PhD

Research Interests: Understanding how the Ras family of small GTPases alters tumor progression and metastasis, specifically in pancreatic ductal cancer. We have interests in mechanisms and consequences of Ras-driven intracellular signaling within the epithelial cancer cell, as well as how Ras activation educates and modifies crosstalk throughout the tumor microenvironment.

Jonathan Chernoff, MD, PhD*

Research Interests: Signal transduction by small G proteins and their effectors and the role of these proteins in regulating cytoskeletal structure, tumor invasion, and metastasis; regulation of insulin signaling.

Denise Connolly, PhD

Research Interests: Goal of our research is to discover ways to improve the treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer.

Edna Cukierman, PhD

Research Interests: Tumor microenvironment and tumor-stroma interactions; a primary fibroblast-derived and in vivo-like 3D system that mimics stroma progression is used to investigate both the mechanisms of matrix induced myofibroblastic differentiation (e.g., desmoplastic activation) and the tumor-associated matrix induced permissiveness that promotes tumorigenesis and cell invasion.  The stroma progressive 3D system also serves as basis for a platform investigating tumor-associated matrix induced drug responsiveness.

Roland Dunbrack, PhD

Research Interests: Computational structural biology, including homology modeling, fold recognition, molecular dynamics simulations, statistical analysis of the PDB and bioinformatics.

Joan Font-Burgada, PhD

Research Interests: Research in my group focuses on the tissue and cellular dynamics during aging, chronic tissue damage and continuous regeneration leading to the development of cancer.

Erica Golemis, PhD

Research Interests: Understanding points of communication between the cell cycle machinery and cell shape controls, with particular reference to how these processes are simultaneously disrupted in cancer; the HEF1, HEI10, and HEI-C proteins, which function in cell cycle-cell attachment control pathways.

Eileen K. Jaffe, PhD

Research Interests: Protein structure-function relationships, the role of quaternary structure dynamics in allosteric regulation and drug action.

Neil Johnson, PhD

Research Interests: The Johnson laboratory studies mechanisms of DNA damage detection, repair, and signaling that occur in BRCA1 mutation-containing organisms and cancers. We use a range of approaches, including cell biology, mouse genetics, and therapy resistance modeling, to understand basic biological processes and their implications for tumorigenesis and chemotherapy sensitivity.

John Karanicolas, PhD

Research Interests: The goal of the Karanicolas laboratory is to develop structure-based approaches for modulating protein function using small-molecules. We apply these new approaches to re-activate disabled tumor suppressors, inhibit cancer-driving RNA-binding proteins, disable key oncogenic kinases, and tune the activity of antibodies used in cancer immunotherapy.

Ekaterina Koltsova, PhD

Research Interests: Uncovering immune-mediated mechanisms regulating cardiovascular disease (CVD) development, adipose tissue inflammation and cancer with particular emphasis on the role of cytokines in the regulation of intestinal microbiota, metabolites, stress hematopoiesis in the bone marrow, and anti-cancer immunity

Warren D. Kruger, PhD

Research Interests: The role of dysregulated methionine metabolism and human diseases; correction of mutant protein function by chaperone therapy; mouse models of human disease.

Jeffrey R. Peterson, PhD

Research Interests: Mechanisms of signaling transduction in cancer. Biochemical and cell biological approaches to understand how information is processed and transmitted in the cell.

Lori Rink, PhD

Research Interests: Understanding mechanisms of drug resistance in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST); preclinical testing of novel agents/combinations in GIST patient derived xenografts (PDX); identification of biomarkers of response to targeted agents in soft tissue sarcomas

Yibin Yang, PhD

Research Interests: Immune regulatory pathways in human lymphoid malignancies. We are interested in the immune signaling pathways, particularly key transcriptional factors and ubiquitin-mediated signaling, required for lymphoma pathogenesis and immunotherapy. We have established an unbiased high-throughput CRISPR library screening technology to rapidly and accurately identify key pathways that are suitable for targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Tim Yen, PhD

Research Interests: Our laboratory is broadly interested in mechanisms that regulate genome stability and how these processes are disrupted in cancer cells. We are studying centromere and kinetochore function to understand the molecular defect that causes aneuploidy in cancer cells.  We are also studying mechanisms in cancer cells that promote their survival in response to chemotherapy. The goal of our studies is to develop new strategies to enhance response of cancer cells to chemotherapy.

Adjunct Biochemistry Faculty at the Wistar Institute

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Qing Chen, MD, PhD*

Research Interests: The molecular mechanisms of brain metastasis originating from primary tumors like breast cancer, and the interplay between cancer cells and the stromal cells that populate the brain microenvironment.

Chih-Chi Andrew Hu, PhD

Research Interests: Our research interests include the analysis of the mechanisms of B cell development and B cell cancer formation. We investigate endoplasmic reticulum–associated stress signaling molecules, which play important roles in the quality control of secretory and integral membrane proteins. We are especially interested in knowing how B cell cancers employ these signaling molecules to work in favor of their survival, spreading and chemoresistance in response to therapies. We take biochemical, cell biological and immunological approaches to study these questions in mouse tumor models and human cancer cells.

Alessandro Gardini, PhD

Research Interests: The lab is interested in how genomic regulatory sequences, termed enhancers, work to determine cell identity and specify blood lineages, such as monocytes/macrophages and granulocytes, from hematopoietic stem cells.

Zachary Schug, PhD

Research Interests: Dr. Schug is interested in investigating metabolic adaptation in cancer cells through the use of cell biology, biochemistry, and metabolomics.

* Physician's practice is independent of Drexel University.

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Abstract biochemistry and molecular biology research graphic.