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Current Rotation Opportunities - CBMP

Faculty Email Research interest/projects
Gerry Apodaca, PhD  Our lab studies epithelial cell biology and mechanotransduction. Lab rotation opportunities include the following: 1. Use confocal microscopy, scanning EM, and TEM to define the organization of the umbrella cell apical junctional complex (AJC) during filling and voiding of the bladder. 2. Use viral transduction of tagged-AJC components coupled with live-cell imaging to develop techniques to visualize AJC dynamics in the native urothelium. Ultimately, we will use these tools to define whether there are roles for membrane traffic (exocytosis and endocytosis), as well as the actin/intermediate cytoskeleton in these events. 3. Use conditional knockout mice to explore the function of mechanosensitive PIEZO channels in lower urinary tract function. More info:
Michael Butterworth, PhD The research focus of the lab is the (sex-specific) role of microRNAs in renal sodium handling. We use KO and gain-of- function mouse models with primary and engineered cell lines to investigate the hormonal regulation of microRNAs in the kidney. Findings are linked to in vivo physiologic regulation of sodium transport and blood pressure. These studies aim to uncover novel pathways to account for sex-specific differences in hypertension. More info:
Christopher Cunningham, PhD The Cunningham Lab is interested in understanding the neural and sensory biology of the vertebrate auditory system. Many unique and highly specialized proteins with exquisitely precise subcellular localizations are critical for each step of sound processing. Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit, and multiple forms of hearing loss involve aberrant proteostasis—improper assembly, trafficking, and/or regulation of key auditory proteins. We utilize mouse models of human deafness for our experiments. The similarities between the rodent and human auditory systems allow for a panoply of experimental manipulations that aim to uncover basic biological mechanisms and translational insights relevant for human health. The lab utilizes cutting-edge techniques including the generation and analysis of novel genetic mouse models combined with biochemistry, molecular biology, histology, viral vectors and high-resolution fluorescent microscopic imaging. Ultimately, we hope to utilize our findings toward the development of new therapies for hearing loss and deafness. To this end, we are very interested in developing gene therapy strategies that can treat hearing loss. More info:
Yiqin Du, MD, PhD Our current main projects are 1) exploring the feasibility and mechanisms of stem cells and their trophic factors for trabecular meshwork regeneration and extracellular matrix turnover for glaucoma treatment; 2) combining stem cells and bioengineering to treat corneal scarring and corneal endothelial dystrophy. We work on different types of adult stem cells and iPSCs.Please visit:
Partha Dutta, DVM, PhD We are interested in epigenetic and metabolic mechanisms of macrophage functions, senescence of immune cells, pathogenesis of cardiovascular disese such as myocardial infarction and atherosclerosis using flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, intravital microscopy, RNA sequencing, single cell RNA sequencing, proteomics, and other omics analysis. Graduate students are trained to write winning grants and fellowships, and are provided with guidance for industry-oriented careers. The graduate students in the lab publish in high impact journals. Please visit
Zach Freyberg, MD, PhD In Situ Cryo-Electron Microscopy Approaches to Investigation of Vesicle Trafficking Dopamine’s Role in Regulation of Insulin Release See more
Gerry Hammond, PhD We use single-cell chemi- and otpo-genetics and synthetic biology to dissect lipid signaling in cancer and other diseases.
Yang Hong, PhD The lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms regulating cell polarity, using both Drosophila and cultured cells as model systems combined with cutting-edge live imaging approaches ( In recent years our lab has made breakthrough discoveries that established electrostatic membrane targeting as a fundamental mechanism in regulating cell polarity. Our research has so far revealed that the electrostatic membrane targeting of polarity proteins can be regulated by various mechanisms such as phosphorylations, allosteric conformation changes, and coincident protein interactions. Moreover, we discovered a striking phenomenon that the electrostatic membrane targeting can be severely disrupted by acute and reversible depletion of membrane PI4P and PIP2 triggered by hypoxia and ATP inhibition, suggesting a novel mechanism underlying the disruption of cell polarity in the ischemia-reperfusion injury and tumorigenesis.
Ossama Kashlan, PhD Our lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms of ion transporter regulation, including the epithelial Na+ channels (ENaC) and the sodium-hydrogen exchanger (NHE3). We are particularly interested in direct interactions with biological and pharmacological ligands. We use a variety of approaches that include functional, biochemical, physiological, and computational approaches. Our current projects are 1) determine the physiological effects of ENaC activation by bile acids in the context of liver disease using mouse models and patient samples, 2) determine the relationship between the structure of ENaC and its function using evolutionary and functional approaches, and 3) determine whether SGLT2 inhibitors exert their effects by inhibiting non-SGLT2 targets.
Thomas Kleyman, MD The Kleyman lab has a longstanding interest in epithelial transport physiology, particularly with regard to how structure relates to function. The lab focuses on ion channels in the distal aspects of the nephron, including epithelial Na+ channels (ENaC), large conductance Ca2+ activated K+ channels (BK), and mechanosensitive Piezo channels. See more
Adam Kwiatkowski, PhD We use a combination of protein biochemistry, proteomics, cell biology, and light and electron microscopy to study cardiomyocyte adhesion and cytoskeletal organization at the molecular and cellular levels. More info: More info:
Partha Roy, PhD Our lab studies the role of actin cytoskeleton regulatory proteins and transcriptional factors in metastatic breast cancer, renal cancer, angiogenesis (physiological and pathological).and endothelial cell-immune cell crosstalk. We adopt a wide range of in vitro and in vivo experimental techniques, bioinformatics analyses, small molecule screening, and live cell imaging. For detailed information, please visit
Jami Saloman, PhD We use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate neural interactions with other cellular systems. We are interested in normal organ function, chronic pain, and tumorigenesis. Ongoing projects include 1) the role of neuronal PDL1 in cancer pain, 2) neuronal regulation of tumor growth and anti-tumor immunity, and 3) peripheral circuits controlling pancreas function and pancreatitis
Alexander Sorkin, PhD Project 1. Define temproraly resolved interaction networks of EGF receptor using proximity-labeling mass-spectrometry and characterize newly-discovered components of these networks. Project 2. Analyze localization dynamics fo the active receptor tyrosine kinases in mouse tumors in vivo using cancer cells that are engineered to express a novel fluorescent sensor using CRISPR gene-editing.
Arohan Subramanya, MD Our laboratory studies biological processes that regulate cell size and coordinate electrolyte transport in the kidney tubule. See more
Jay Tan, PhD

The Tan lab studies molecular and biochemical mechanisms of cellular quality control in aging and age-related disease. See more

Michael Tsang, PhD Lab rotation projects include: 1. Generating CRISPR/Cas9 mutant zebrafish lines.
2. Establishing transgenic zebrafish and developing new tools for controlling protein activity.
3. Characterizing candidate genes implicated in zebrafish heart development.
4. Studying gene function in heart regeneration. See more
Deepika Vasudevan, PhD The ability of an organism to cope with cellular stress generally declines with age, which is linked to the etiology of many degenerative disorders including decline in vision, metabolic capacity, and neuronal function. See more
Jean-Pierre Vilardaga, PhD Project 1. Structural Basis of PTH-receptor Function. The information obtained through this research will define the structural basis by which functionally distinct ligands activate the PTH receptor a medically important G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) regulating blood levels of calcium and phosphate ions and bone turnover. Project 2. Regulation of Parathyroid Functions by GPCRs. This project will define a new process by which heterodimerization of the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) and the metabotropic type B1 GABA receptor (GABAB1R) regulate PTH secretion from the parathyroid glands. Project 3. Foundational Research to Act Upon and Resist Conditions Unfavorable to Bone (FRACTURE CURB): Combined long-acting PTH. This research will define the molecular basis by which calcimimetics regulate bone formation by long-active PTH analogs. Project 5. Druggability of the PTH receptor. The goal is to identify PTHR-binding small molecule compounds via a combination of computational approaches including molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, elastic network model (ENM)-based methods, and virtual screening using structures of PTHR. 1) Molecular and cellular mechanisms of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling; 2) GPCR signaling and function in primary cilia; 3) Receptor druggabilty for bone diseases.
Ora Weisz, PhD The Weisz lab uses imaging, biochemical, genomic, and modeling approaches to study the regulation of membrane traffic in the kidney proximal tubule. Cells in this nephron segment have a highly developed apical endocytic pathway that functions to recover proteins, vitamins, and other filtered molecules from tubule lumen. Defects in the function of this pathway cause tubular proteinuria that can lead to end-stage kidney disease. Current projects in the lab are focused on identifying the compartments and machinery that mediate apical endocytosis in these highly specialized cells, creating an integrated model for protein recovery along the entire tubule, and discovering the roles in proximal tubule cell function of proteins whose mutations result in genetic proteinuric disease. Visit our website for more information
Bokai Zhu, PhD Zhu lab is working on multi-disciplinary research encompassing proteostasis, biorhythms, aging, senescence, epigenetics, stress response, phase separation, and metabolism in both basic research as well translational research in neurodegeneration, metaboic syndromes, and eye diseases. We combine computation, bioinformatics, cell biology, time-lapse imaging, next generation sequencing, and classical molecular and biochemsitry and utilize a wide range models, including C.elegans, mice, mammalian cell lines and also human sujects. Whether you are into basic research or translational research, this is the lab you should join. We are a multidisciplinary lab that use quantatitive system biology approach to study stress response, proteostasis, biorhythms in the regulation of metabolism and aging, with both basic research and disease implication. Some of the key words related to our research are: xbp1, ultradian and circadian rhythm, epigenetics, proteostasis, transcription, phase separation, stress response. fatty liver, aging and senescence. Please visit and follow me @LabZhu on twitter
Xiaosong Wang, MD,PhD Apply a multiple disciplinary approach inclusive of bioinformatics, genetics, molecular and cell biology, and translational studies to detect driving genetic aberrations and qualify appropriate cancer targets on the basis of next generation sequencing and genome profiling technologies. Characterize driving genetic aberrations, therapeutic targets, and predictive biomarkers for the development of new cancer precision medicine. For more information, please visit our website:
Mo Ebrahimkhani, MD please visit
Jean-Pierre Vilardaga, PhD 1) Molecular and cellular mechanisms of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling; 2) GPCR signaling and function in primary cilia; 3) Receptor druggabilty for bone diseases.
Yusuke Sekine Y. Sekine Lab is working on the molecular mechanisms and cellular stress responses that allow a cell to adapt to metabolic alterations, and their relevance to human aging and age-related diseases. Website:
Shiori Sekine S. Sekine Lab is exploring molecular mechanisms by which mitochondria maintain their functionality against internal/external insults. Please visit our lab home page:

[updated: 08/29/2023]