UNMC INBRE Mentors-Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Surinder K. Batra, Ph.D.
E-mail: sbatra@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  What happens when a cell becomes a cancer cell?  Can we determine the way this happens, what are the important molecules at the molecular level?  Our lab is focused on determining the changes that occur in cancer cell development, especially at the early stages.  The goal is to both determine what the important features of cancer development are and to determine what molecules might be important early markers of tumor cells with the goal of early diagnosis.

For more information on Dr. Batra: Web Site

Steve Caplan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
E-mail: scaplan@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  Cells are constantly interacting with their environments.  One form of this interaction that we are studying is the mechanism controlling the uptake of cell-surface receptors and the hormones that they bind.  The cell has elaborate mechanisms for this uptake and the process of returning these cell-surface membrane proteins back to the surface of the cell.  We are interested in the molecular mechanisms by which this is accomplished and how this process is regulated.

For more information on Dr. Caplan: Web Site

William G. Chaney, Ph.D.
E-mail: wchaney@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  How does adding carbohydrates to proteins change their activity?  We are trying to determine how carbohydrate addition to proteins (glycosylation) and how the expression of carbohydrate-binding cellular proteins can affect the functions of the cells they are made in.  These questions are being addressed in breast and pancreatic cancer cells.  In a second project in the lab, a new form of protein glycosylation has been identified for proteins inside the cell, and we are also trying to characterize the carbohydrate structures involved and what role they play in cell function.

For more information on Dr. Chaney: Web Site

Ming-Fong Lin, Ph.D.
E-mail: mlin@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  Why do cancer cells grow uncontrollably?  We are trying to answer this question in prostate cancer.  Our approach is to study the regulation of protein phosphorylation, the addition of a phosphate group to proteins.  This is known to control the activity of many cellular proteins important for cell growth.  We are concentrating on prostatic acid phosphatase (PCAP), which can remove phosphate groups from proteins, with the goal of trying to determine if PCAP is important for prostate cancer development.

For more information on Dr. Lin: Web Site

Parmender Mehta, Ph.D.
E-mail: pmehta@unmc.edu               

Research Interests:  Molecular mechanisms involved in the assembly of connexins into gap junctions and the role of cell contact-dependent communication in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation of prostate epithelial cells.

For more information on Dr. Mehta: Web Site

Paul L. Sorgen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
E-mail: psorgen@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  Cells next to each other in a tissue form strong intercellular connections.  One form of these connections is gap junctions, which form pores that can allow the passage of small molecules from one cell to its neighbor.  We are studying one of the molecules that are important for the formation of gap junctions, the connexins.  Our goal is to understand the molecular structure of the connexins and how they regulate gap junction formation and intercellular communication.

For more information on Dr. Sorgen: Web Site