Cell Biology Research Cluster

Cell Biology Research Cluster (CBRC) - Coordinator, Sandrine Pierre, PhD

Cell biology and molecular signaling are core components in the research of all diseases. The Cell Biology Research Cluster (CBRC) at Marshall consists of faculty that concentrate on the role of molecular signaling and control of gene function in a range of disease processes. Within the CBRC there are three primary research areas. The first area focuses on the regulation of cell function by Na/K ATPase, especially in epithelial cell biology. The epithelia is a barrier tissue that plays a major role in maintaining body and organ homeostasis. Changes in epithelial function are involved in a number of disease processes, including Crohn’s disease, hypertension and endometriosis. Faculty at Marshall investigate the role of Na/K ATPase in src mediated regulation of epithelial function. This interaction between Na/K ATPase and src regulates oxidative signaling (Liu, Xie, Shapiro), transporter expression and function (Arthur, Yan, Sundaram), and tight junction expression patterns (Larre). Other researchers investigate the role of Na/K ATPase in regulating the heart and muscle types (Pierre). The second area of interest for this Research Cluster is the regulation of gene expression patterns in disease. Two primary areas of interest are regulation by ligand gated transcription factors and also epigenetic regulation of gene expression. The ahrylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand gated transcription factor important for response to environmental toxins. Recent studies at Marshall have shown that this transcription factor is important for a number of cell responses to endogenous ligands, including growth factors (Salisbury). Subsequent studies indicate this may be important for regulating GI function (Arthur, Salisbury, Sundaram) and in the development of breast cancer (Salisbury). We also investigate how these types of processes can regulate lymphocyte differentiation (Sollars) and lung cancer (Dasgupta). Epigenetic regulation of gene activation is an area of considerable interest. Studies at Marshall focus on two primary epigenetic mechanisms: regulation of chromatin folding in addiction and cancer (Georgel) and micro-RNA in mitochondrial function (Koc), cardiovascular disease and endometriosis (Santanam). The third primary research area in this Research Cluster is the cellular and molecular control of tissue degeneration and regeneration. Research includes the potential of stem cells in regenerative medicine (Cai) as well as several researchers who focus specifically on liver dysfunction and regeneration (Sodhi, Sanabria). For each of our major research areas it is our goal to interweave basic and clinical researchers to investigate cell biological issues with a truly translational approach.


Basic Science Researcher             Research Interests

Ruhul Amin, Ph.D                                            Head and neck cancer, lung cancer, and natural compounds

Subha Arthur, Ph.D                                 Gastro-intestinal cell physiology and transport

Beverly C. Delidow, Ph.D                        Cell Adhesion and signaling in cancer

Liquan Cai, Ph.D                                     Stem cell and regeneration medicine

Piyali Dasgupta, Ph.D                             Lung cancer and TRPC / TRPV channels

Philippe Georgel, Ph.D                           Gene Expression;epigenetics-cancer/metabolic dx

Emine C. Koc, Ph.D                                Mitochondrial proteomics

Isabel Larre, Ph.D                                   Epithelial cell biology; paracellular transport reg

Jiang Liu, MD, Ph.D                                Epithelial Cell physiology and oxidative signaling

Sandrine Pierre, Ph.D                             Cell physiology and signaling

Travis Salisbury, Ph.D                             Signal-regulated gene expression

Zijian Xie, Ph.D                                       Cell Physiology and signaling

Komal Sodhi, MD                                   Liver function in non-alcoholic steatosis

Vincent Sollars, Ph.D                              Heat shock proteins and cancer

Yanling Yan, Ph.D                                   Epithelial Cell physiology; chronic renal diseases

Nalini Santanam, Ph.D                           Metabolic signaling/abiogenesis; epigenetics

James Denvir, Ph.D                                Bioinformatics

Clinical Researcher                         Research Interests

Joseph Shapiro, MD                              Renal function and hypertension

Uma Sundaram, MD                              Nutrition, inflammatory bowel disease

Juan Sanabria, MD                                Liver tumors and liver regeneration