Category: Research Area


Stella A. Bialous, DrPH, FAAN

Research Interests:

Tobacco control, health policy, nursing, public health, capacity building, smoking cessation, cancer, non-communicable diseases, tobacco industry, global health, health diplomacy, sustainable development goals.

Summary:

Dr. Stella Bialous’ research focuses on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, tobacco industry monitoring and building nurses’ capacity for tobacco control nationally and internationally. Dr. Bialous has consulted with the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative for over 15 years. In 2003, she received the American Legacy Foundation’s Sybill G. Jacobson Adult Award for Outstanding Use of Tobacco Industry Document. In 2012, she received the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care Distinguished Merit Award and is currently the Society’s President.

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Mark Looney, M.D.

 

Research Interests:

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, blood transfusions, transfusion-related acute lung injury, neutrophils, neutrophil extracellular traps, platelets, lung transplantation

Summary:

My laboratory is broadly interesting in study innate immune biology in the normal and injured lung.  Using pre-clinical models of acute lung injury, we have focused on neutrophils and platelets, the latter being a bon a fide immune cell with powerful inflammatory potential.  One consequence of platelet-neutrophil interactions is the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which we study in both sterile and pathogen-induced lung injury models.  We are determining the mechanisms by which platelets trigger NETs and novel pathways to target NETs—which we have discovered are overall barrier disruptive in the lung.   

We also use two-photon intravital lung microscopy as a tool for discovery.  Using this technique, we have determined that the lung is a major source of mature platelet production in mice.  Furthermore, megakaryocytes reside in the extravascular lung and may have potent local immune effects.  The lung also contains a wide-range of hematopoietic progenitors, which have the capacity to leave the lung and engraft in the bone marrow for multi-lineage blood production.  We are determining the niche-promoting factors responsible for hematopoietic progenitor residence in the lung and the contributions of these cells to the local immune repertoire.

We have an expanding interest in lung transplantation studies, including ischemia-reperfusion injury (primary graft dysfunction) and modeling chronic lung allograft dysfunction (bronchiolitis obliterans).  We use the mouse single lung transplantation technique for these studies and to create lung chimeras for investigation.

UCSF Profiles Page: http://profiles.ucsf.edu/mark.looney


Vasanth Vedantham, M.D.

Research Interests: Development and function of the cardiac conduction system; molecular regulation of cardiac pacemaker cells; mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias

 

Our lab is focused on cardiac pacemaker cells, specialized cardiomyocytes whose autonomous electrical activity allows the sinoatrial node to serve as the heart’s natural pacemaker. Specific questions include: How are pacemaker cells different from regular heart cells at the level of gene expression and regulation? How does their unique gene expression signature confer their distinctive electrophysiological properties? How have selection pressures generated functional differences in pacemaker cells among different vertebrate species? What are the molecular mechanisms that guide pacemaker cells to integrate electrically with the rest of the heart to form a node? How do pacemaker cell biology and function change in response to physiological and pathological stress? What is the mechanistic link between sinus node dysfunction and atrial fibrillation? Our approaches include mouse genetics, whole-animal and ex-vivo electrophysiology, cellular and molecular electrophysiology, gene expression analysis, and bioinformatics. Ultimately, we hope to design novel treatments for patients suffering from heart rhythm disorders, including sinus node dysfunction and atrial fibrillation

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David R Raleigh, M.D.

Research Interests: Hedgehog signaling, developmental biology, brain tumors and molecular therapeutics

 

More children die from brain tumors than any other type of cancer, and the most common type of brain tumor in children is medulloblastoma. Like all cancers, medulloblastoma is caused by uncontrolled cell growth. Approximately one-third of medulloblastoma cancers arise when a particular signal that tells brain cells to grow, called Hedgehog, gets stuck in the “on” position. We are interested in uncovering exactly how Hedgehog signals tell cancer cells to grow. To do so, we are investigating how the Hedgehog pathway is activated, and how Hedgehog activation regulates the expression of other signals to influence cell growth. Understanding how Hedgehog signals cause cancer may show us how to turn off these signals, and potentially, lead to new therapies for medulloblastoma.

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Andrew J Connolly, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Interests:Basic and translational research in cardiovascular and pulmonary pathology

 

The goal of our research is to explore pathology of the heart, blood vessels, and lungs, using both patient materials and animal models. This includes the heart muscle disorders underlying heart failure, thrombotic occlusion of blood vessels, diseases of the aorta, and lung cancer models.

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Roshanak Irannejad, Ph.D.

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Research Interests: Internal membrane compartments as hubs of signaling

To function properly, cells and tissue must receive and interpret a large variety of signals. They do so, in part, through signaling receptors, some of which reside on cell surfaces known as plasma membranes. We study adrenergic receptors, which are targets of commonly used medicines including alpha and beta blockers. By developing a new class of sensors that allow for detection and visualization of signaling events in living cells, we made the unexpected finding that signaling cues to cells not only act on cell surface receptors but also on internal cellular compartments. This observation raises numerous questions pertaining to fundamental aspects of cell signaling and suggests that cells have spatially compartmentalized signaling hubs. This basic biological insight has clinical implications as well. For example, certain beta-blockers are known to have differential clinical efficacies but the underlying reasons for these differences are not known. We have found that different beta blockers act on distinct hubs of signaling. Beyond their well-established roles in cardiac physiology, adrenergic receptors regulate a wide variety of important physiologically and behavioral processes. We are using our newly developed tools to investigate the consequences of signaling from internal compartments on a range of cellular, physiological, and behavioral outcomes.

UCSF Profiles Page: http://profiles.ucsf.edu/roshanak.irannejad

 

 


Tien Peng, M.D.

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Developmental pathways in the maintenance of adult tissue homeostasis

Our laboratory is interested in studying how key developmental pathways continue to persist in adulthood to maintain normal homeostatic organ function. We are particularly focused on the mesenchymal cell types (e.g. fibroblasts, pericytes, and etc.) that are poorly understood and lack precise anatomical definition, but are integral to the structural integrity and function of adult organs such as the lung.

 

UCSF Profiles Page


Andy Chang, Ph.D.

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Research Interests:

Acute oxygen and metabolic sensing in cardiopulmonary regulation and disease

Summary:

To maintain optimal oxygen delivery to tissues, there is constant regulation of respiratory and cardiovascular systems by mechanisms that act on different time scales. On a fast time scale, a small chemosensory organ called the carotid body senses decreases in blood oxygen to increase breathing within seconds. The carotid body can also regulate cardiovascular function acutely, and carotid body hyperactivity contributes to disease progression in hypertension, heart failure, and metabolic syndrome. Using the mouse as our primary model, we aim to identify the molecular mechanisms that mediate the carotid body’s ability to detect changes in blood oxygen as well as other metabolic signals, such as carbon dioxide and acid. One long term goal is to apply this knowledge to manipulating carotid body activity in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

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Ian Bass Seiple, Ph.D.

 

Seiple

Research Interests:

Synthesis of biologically active small molecules

Summary:

Despite centuries of innovation, chemistry is often still the limiting factor in the development of small molecule drug candidates, molecular probes, or novel chemical libraries. Many molecules that have tremendous biological potential are challenging to modify with known chemical methodologies. The overarching goal of our program is to develop practical methods for the synthesis of molecules that have previously been inaccessible. Many of our current projects are focused on the synthesis of novel antibiotics that can be used to treat life-threatening infections of the heart, lungs, and upper respiratory tract.

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Arthur Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.

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Research Interests:
Cell Surface Molecules and Molecular Events Involved in Lymphocyte Activation

Summary:
Dr. Weiss studies on how the functions of cells of the immune system are regulated. The immune system protects individuals from infections and malignancies. However, it is also involved in undesirable destructive responses, such as in autoimmune and allergic diseases as well as atherosclerosis and transplant rejection.

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Orion D Weiner, Ph.D.

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Research Interests:
Cell polarity, chemotaxis, actin cytoskeleton, cell signaling, cell migration, microscopy, biochemistry, neutrophils, systems biology, self-organization, inflammation, Rac, PI3Kinase, WAVE complex.

Summary:
Proper movement in response to cues from the outside world is as important for single cells as it is for drivers on a busy highway. If cues are misinterpreted or the movement goes awry, terrible accidents ensue, the delicate wiring of the nervous system fails, single-celled organisms can`t hunt or mate, the immune system ceases to function properly, and cancer cells spread from one part of the body to another. How do single cells, without the benefit of a brain, interpret the subtle micro-world of attractants and repellents to decide where to go? Our research focuses on dissecting the inner workings of the cellular “compass” used to guide cells on their journey. Because the core of the compass has been conserved over more than a billion years of evolution, we have been able to combine discoveries from yeast to humans to glimpse some rough outlines of the underlying machinery. However, many of the important connections are still missing. Our research focuses on identifying these key missing components and how they are wired together to process information with the hope that we can eventually make cells move when (and where) we want them to and stop them when we don’t.

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Lei Wang, Ph.D.

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Research Interests:
Design and encode novel amino acids to study biological processes and to develop new biotherapeutics.

Summary:
We build proteins in living cells using new amino acids. By harnessing the novel properties of these new building blocks, we probe biological processes in their natural settings and engineer unique biomolecules to understand mechanisms of cellular function and to develop new treatments of diseases.

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