Names and affiliations of faculty with research interests in Molecular Signaling

The following faculty have indicated an interest in participating in a Center for Molecular Communication.  Most of these researchers are faculty on the Reynolda campus; WFU School of Medicine faculty are indicated by italics.

Rebecca Alexander, Associate Professor of Chemistry brings expertise in intramolecular signaling within proteins, with a focus on how conformational change is coupled to catalysis and how chemical events result in mechanical motion within proteins. Her research is currently funded by NSF.

Edward Allen, Mathematics, contributes expertise in the application of combinatorial algorithms and computational algebraic modeling to problems in systems biology.

Ulrich Bierbach, Professor of Chemistry designs structurally unique organic–inorganic hybrid molecules as pharmacophores for tackling chemoresistant disease and as probes of biomolecular structure and function.

Keith Bonin, Professor of Physics, is an expert in optics and optical system, and will work on imaging analysis and with optical (confocal) microscopy.

Heather Brown-Harding, Biology Department Assistant Director of Microscopy, contributes expertise in imaging, host-pathogen interactions, and cell cycle signaling.

Mingham Chen, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, studies modeling and simulation of biological systems, developing computational approaches for data analysis, and parameter optimizations.

Rong Chen, Assistant Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology investigates the function, trafficking, and signaling of dopamine receptors and transporters in the brain following exposure to psychostimulants.

Samuel S. Cho, Assistant Professor of Physics and Computer Science, is an expert on computational biophysics using  molecular dynamic simulations of protein and RNA folding and assembly mechanistic processes and their intramolecular signaling networks.; his research is funded by the NSF, NVIDIA, and Google.

Lindsay Comstock, Assistant Professor of Chemistry focuses on developing biochemical tools to study post-translational modifications by combining organic chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology.

Regina Cordy, Assistant Professor of Biology, studies the pathogenesis of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium, She examines the effects of host genetics and immunity,  host microbiome, and metabolism to understand malaria disease outcome.

Josh Currie, Assistant Professor of Biology, contributes expertise in understanding how extracellular signals choreograph tissue regeneration and the cell intrinsic and extrinsic properties that separate complete limb regeneration in amphibians from incomplete and fibrotic healing in humans and other mammals.

Patricia Dos Santos, Associate Professor of Chemistry brings expertise on the biosynthesis of thio-cofactors and thiol-redox homeostasis in microbial systems. Her laboratory studies biosynthetic reactions involving sulfur trafficking and investigates metabolic and environmental conditions affecting these pathways in Bacillus species.

Susan Fahrbach, Reynolds Professor of Developmental Neurobiology and Professor of Biology, studies the hormonal controls of brain development in insect models and is currently funded by NSF.

Sheri Floge, Assistant Professor of Biology, investigates virus-mediated metabolic reprogramming, production and release of small signaling molecules, and biofilm formation in marine cyanobacteria.

Cristina M. Furdui, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine (WFUSM). Research is directed towards applying advanced systems biology methodologies to investigate the timing of signaling events in the propagation of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling under normal and pathogenic conditions. A second project is aimed at developing new nanokinetics platforms for quantitative monitoring of rapid enzyme kinetics and drug screening assays.

Martin Guthold, Associate Professor of Physics, contributes expertise in the combination of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and fluorescence microscopy to image and determine the mechanical properties of biological samples; his research is currently funded by the NSF.

Erin Henslee, Assistant Professor of Engineering, brings expertise in the use of cellular electrophysiology as a tool to characterize, enrich, and separate cells of interest. Her group focuses on electrokinetic techniques to study the interplay of ionic currents present and how these contribute mechanistically in cellular processes and diseases; her work is funded by NSF. 

Tom Hollis, Professor of Biochemistry addresses questions in nucleic acid metabolism and the processing of DNA to avoid activation of innate immune response using structural and biochemical techniques.

Allyn Howlett, Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology investigates cannabinoid receptors, G protein coupled receptors abundant in neurons and glia, utilizing cultured neuronal cells as our  model system. We investigate mechanisms of cAMP and phosphoCREB, CB1-Growth factor receptor (e.g. VEGF-FLK) trans-activation that mediates MAPK (ERK) phosphorylation, NO synthesis, guanylyl cyclase, and GPCR interacting proteins.

Erik Johnson, Assistant Professor of Biology, contributes expertise in the use of the Drosophila melanogaster model system to study molecular physiology; he is an expert in the study of stress.

Daniel Kim-Shapiro, Professor of Physics contributes expertise on the use of biophysical tools to understand nitrogen oxide signaling and its mediation by hemoglobin and other proteins; his research is currently funded by the NIH.

S. Bruce King, Professor of Chemistry, contributes expertise in organic chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics to better understand the roles of nitric oxide (NO) in biological systems; his research is currently funded by the NIH.

Todd Lowther, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, investigates signaling relevant oxidative modifications of proteins and their repair pathways using both biochemical and structural (X-ray crystallographic) approaches; his research is currently funded by the NIH.

John Lukesh, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, uses synthetic organic chemistry in an effort to generate novel redox-active molecules with interesting biological properties

Douglas Lyles, Professor and Chair of Biochemistry, has an active research program on the assembly of viral membranes and another on the suppression of host antiviral responses and the induction of apoptosis by viruses linked to cellular signal transduction associated with the induction of apoptosis. His research is funded by the NIH.

Glen Marrs, Biology Department Director of Microscopy, contributes expertise in imaging methodology, neuroscience, and intercellular signaling at developing synapses.

Charles McCall, Professor of Internal and Molecular Medicine, research is with a long time focus on inflammation, currently developing the concept that redox signaling by nuclear a NAD- dependent Sirtuin 1 and 3 cysteine thiols determines acute inflammation outcome.

Sarah McDonald Esstman, Associate Professor of Biology, uses biochemical, genetic, and computational techniques to investigate how rotaviruses replicate within host cells and evolve during their spread in the host population.

Gary Miller, Associate Professor of Health and Exercise Science examines hormone signals generated in clinical disease states, and how these are altered during the course of treatment of the conditions; his research is currently funded by the NIH.

Lance D. Miller, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology, brings expertise in genomics and bioinformatics, with a focus on the transcriptional and genomic dynamics of human cancers and the discovery of genes with prognostic and mechanistic roles in cancer behavior.

Gloria Muday, Professor of Biology brings expertise on mechanisms that control the synthesis, secretion, and transport of both plant and mammalian hormones and how these coordinate complex physiological processes; she is currently funded by the USDA and the NSF.

Kim Nelson, Instructor in Biochemistry studies the role of reactive oxygen species and cysteine oxidation in regulating protein function and cell signaling pathways. Mechanistic, structural and bioinformatic studies of the peroxiredoxin family of antioxidant proteins.

Emmanuel Opara, Professor of Regenerative Medicine studies the molecular
signaling mechanisms by which nutrients and therapeutic peptides elicit their
cellular effects as well as the molecular mechanics of engineered mesenchymal
stem cells. His research is currently funded by the NIH.

John S. Parks, Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry, is studying inflammatory signaling in macrophages as a function of dietary fatty acid modification and ATP binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) function in two NIH sponsored projects.

James Pease, Assistant Professor of Biology, studies molecular evolution of speciation, adaptation, and hybridization with a focus on genomic analysis.

Leslie Poole, Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Center for Structural Biology. The Poole laboratory contributes expertise in study of the control of redox-dependent signal transduction; her research is currently funded by NIH.

Wayne Pratt, Assistant Professor of Psychology is an expert in the utilization of behavioral pharmacological methods to assess the role of brain reward circuitry in modulating feeding and appetitive behaviors in the rat.

Neveen Said,  Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology studies the differential roles of tumor suppressors and oncoproteins on tumor-stromal interactions in carcinogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis. 

Fred Salsbury, Associate Professor of Physics, is an expert on computational methods to study the relationships between macromolecular dynamics, structure and function; his research is currently funded by the NIH, and has recently funded by the NSF.

Wayne Silver, Professor of Biology, is an expert in the study of the chemical senses; his research is currently funded by the NIH.

Dhanendra Tomar, Assistant Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine (WFUSOM), studies the molecular mechanisms that govern mitochondrial calcium flux, mitochondrial structural homeostasis, protein quality control, and their roles in cardiovascular diseases. 

Allen W. TsangAssistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Biochemistry, 1) understand how infection with a common sexually transmitted disease (STD)mediates tumor development and 2) use of natural compounds to reduce breast cancer risk.

William Turkett, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, contributes expertise in the use of probabilistic and statistical machine learning approaches to gain insight into signaling mechanisms.

Pierre-Alexandre Vidi, Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology (WFUSM), examines how signaling from the cellular microenvironment influences nuclear organization and DNA repair in the context of breast cancer initiation and progression.

Mark E. Welker, William L. Poteat Professor of Chemistry works on synthesis and testing of prostate selective PI3Kinase/Akt Signaling Pathway Inhibitors.

Ke Zhang Reid, Assistant professor of Biology, is an expert in non-coding RNAs mediated epigenetic regulation, chromosome biology, and RNA quality control and Integrity

External Members

Manju Bhat, Associate Professor of Physiology at Winston-Salem State University, investigates the mechanisms of calcium signaling in sensory neurons and their modulation by anesthetics

Richard Loeser, Professor, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; Director of Basic and Translational Research, Thurston Arthritis Research Center, UNC, Chapel Hill. Contributes expertise in the investigation of intracellular signaling pathways in chondrocytes, with a focus on how arthritis, aging, and oxidative stress affect cell signaling.

Robert Newman, Assistant Professor of Biology, North Carolina A and T is interested in understanding the spatiotemporal regulation of cellular signal transduction, with a particular emphasis on phosphorylation-dependent signaling pathways developing genetically-targetable fluorescent biosensors to track the activities of specific kinases and phosphatases in the native cellular environment with high spatiotemporal resolution using live-cell fluorescence microscopy.

Andrew J. Wommack, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at High Point University, uses organic chemistry and biophysical techniques to study cysteine modifications in peptides and proteins by developing synthetic methods to install redox-inert disulfide bioistosteres.