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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Faculty & Staff

  • Jane Azizkhan-Clifford, PhD

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

  • Karen Berkowitz, MD

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

  • Michael Bouchard, PhD

    Co-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

    Professor
    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

  • Simon Cocklin, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Macromolecular interaction analysis, HIV-1 replication, strucuture-function relationships, ligand-receptor interactions

  • Bradford Jameson, PhD

    Professor
    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

  • Marilyn Jorns, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Use of structure-based drug design to develop a new class of drugs to treat heart failure, based on modulation of the gasotransmitter hydrogen sulfide; structure and mechanism of membrane-bound oxidoreductases

  • Patrick Loll, PhD

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

  • Alexander Mazin, PhD

    Professor
    Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    Research Interests: Mechanisms of DNA double-stranded break repair in humans and in yeast; role of homologous recombination in tumorigenesis; functions of Rad5, Rad54, and Rad51 proteins

  • Eishi Noguchi, PhD

    Associate 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; 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; Interim Director, Biochemistry 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

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

 
Research Faculty Appointments
 

Michael Jackson, PhD

Michael Jackson, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
Our lab is investigating the roles of hydrogen sulfide metabolism in humans and its implications or involvement in cardiovascular disease. Novel therapeutics are being developed in our lab to address heart failure in small mammals and the role of H2S in protecting the heart from long term damage.


Olga Mazin, PhD

Olga Mazin, PhD

Research Associate Professor
Research Interests:
Mechanism of homologous recombination and DNA repair. I focus on RNA-templated DNA repair.


Adel A. Rashad, PhD

Adel A. Rashad, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Research Interests:
My research focuses on analysis of protein-protein interactions to develop novel therapeutics and mechanistic probes. We use synthetic medicinal chemistry, structure-based and ligand-based drug design, hit/lead discovery and hit-to-lead optimization.


 
Retired Faculty
 

Denise Ferrier, PhD

Denise Ferrier, PhD

Professor Emerita


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
 

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.
Email: glutz@drexelmed.edu


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
Email: jnickels@mdlab.com


 
Adjunct Biochemistry Faculty at Fox Chase Cancer Center
 

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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.


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.