Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology
His current research focus is examining the intracellular trafficking of the cancer-related protein CD147 and a family of monocarboxylate transporters. Due to the excellent work of his students, a new trafficking partner of CD147 has recently been identified. His other research interests include messenger RNA stability, microRNAs, and other gene expression regulation mechanisms. He has advised students on a wide array of projects such as generating neurons in tissue culture from stem cells, making stem cells from somatic cells, cricket epigenetics, and biological animation. Outside of the laboratory, his interests lie in electronics, art, and zymurgy.
The structures and processes inside human cells determine how we function (or dysfunction) in the world, and yet they were only discovered in the last few hundred years. We will discover what is known about how they work through primary literature, group work, and laboratory exercises. We will also discuss what is still not known and how scientists work to find the answers. This course is designed with an active learning approach, so students should come prepared to learn a lot of the content through independent activities rather than lectures or textbooks.
Biochemistry is the study of the molecules and chemical reactions of life. Considering the vast diversity of living organisms, one might also expect them to be composed of significantly different biomolecules, and to use unique mechanisms for obtaining energy and communicating different biological information. To the contrary, the principles and language of biochemistry are common to all life: in general, the same chemical compounds and the same metabolic processes found in bacteria exist in organisms as distantly related as whales. Topics will include the structure and function of proteins and carbohydrates, metabolism and bioenergetics within the context of cells. Most topics will be explored in conjunction with laboratory work. Students enrolling in this course must also enroll in Cell Biology (NS-258).
Cancer is currently the second largest cause of death in the United States. One would think that science would have developed a cure for cancer by now, but it hasn't. Why is developing treatment options so difficult? This course will address the biology of malignancy and treatment including some traditional and cutting-edge strategies. We will cover some of the ethical and social justice considerations of disease research including some of the darker examples from cancer research's past. We will also work in the laboratory to study cancer first-hand. Students will begin to learn to independently read primary literature, write papers, and perform presentations.
This introductory course will explore the process of doing scientific research in a molecular biology lab. Students will learn numerous techniques in the lab, including DNA isolation, PCR, gel electrophoresis, restriction enzyme digests, cloning, and basic microscopy. Students will engage in a semester-long laboratory research project within a cancer biology gene cloning context. Students will perform protocols, collect and analyze data, and report their conclusions in written and oral formats. This course is intended for students with little or no experience in a molecular biology lab, and it will prepare students for other laboratory courses including Cell Biology and Biochemistry.
Genetics is traditionally the study of heredity - the passing of traits from parent to offspring. We have come to know that much of heredity is based on the information encoded in our genes. However, increasing evidence supports the notion that external factors can significantly influence this passing of traits. We will investigate many "traditional" areas of genetics, ranging from basic topics such as DNA structure and Mendelian inheritance to more advanced topics such as regulation of gene expression. As we progress through the semester, we will progress to extensive utilization of primary literature for the course content. In all, we will learn how the various aspects of heredity relate to the current understanding of human disease. Students will be evaluated on presentations, weekly problem sets, and a semester-long research paper.
The biochemical properties of food determine how humans can prepare and benefit from food. Why does wheat flour make great bread while rice flour does not? Why are eggs so versatile? What is flavor and taste? Why do we need to eat certain foods for proper health? These are just a few of the questions that we will be addressing in this kitchen laboratory course. Each week we will be conducting experiments using food (most of which should be consumable) in order to learn how the biochemistry of food dictates its behavior in preparation. Students will design their own experiments with food and explain the underlying biochemical principles. We will also address human metabolism and how foods contribute to sustaining life. Note: we will be using meat, eggs, nuts and gluten-containing flour repeatedly, so vegetarian/vegan students as well as those with food allergies may want to consider carefully before enrolling.