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Research Areas

MMG faculty members are investigating some of the most important questions facing biomedical research today. For example, how do microorganisms interact with their hosts to cause disease? What are the basic molecular mechanisms that control cellular growth, division, and differentiation? What changes in normal cellular growth regulation account for aging, cancer, and other diseases? How can basic knowledge in these areas be harnessed as novel approaches to disease prevention and drug discovery?

Grant support from a wide range of sources supports the research mission of MMG in addressing these critical issues. MMG faculty members are supported by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Microbial Pathogenesis
Basic insights regarding the mechanisms of the host-pathogen relationship are essential to improvements in infectious disease prevention, vaccine development, and antimicrobial drug design. Learn more>
Molecular Virology
Understanding the molecular basis of viral interactions with their hosts requires a more complete picture of virus structure and regulation at the molecular level. Groups in this focus area are investigating the regulation of viral gene expression, mechanisms of viral capsid assembly and DNA packaging, alterations in host cell signaling by HIV accessory factors, virus entry into host cells, as well as engineering viral vectors for the analysis of host cell function. Learn more>
DNA Replication and Repair
This research area focuses on the molecular mechanisms of DNA replication in microorganisms as well as the repair responses of mammalian cells following exposure to DNA damaging agents. Specific projects include mechanisms of rolling-circle replication of antibiotic resistance plasmids in bacteria, the role of protein kinases in DNA damage signal transduction, and relationship of DNA repair to cancer and aging. Learn more>
Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction
Researchers in this area are focused on signaling and transcriptional responses of cells to their environment and to microbial pathogens. Project examples include glucose-induced kinase responses in yeast, transcriptional responses of macrophages to cytokines and inflammation, Toll-like receptors and the innate immune response, and regulation of herpesvirus gene expresion. Learn more>
Molecular Basis of Cancer
Several MMG research groups are investigating the molecular etiology of cancer induced by tumor viruses as well as the alterations in signaling pathways associated with oncogenic transformation. Specific projects are focused on the role of microRNAs in HPV-associated cervical cancer, the KSHV and MCV human tumor viruses, and protein-tyrosine kinases as molecular targets for cancer therapy. Learn more>