UNMC INBRE Mentors-Pharmacology & Exp. Neuroscience

Pawel Ciborowski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director, Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Core Facility
E-mail: pciborowski@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  Research in Proteomics Laboratory is focused on the correlation of structure and function of proteins, their receptors and the impact of posttranslational modifications on their functions. Thus our effort is to use proteomics and system biology (holistic) experimental approaches in understanding molecular mechanisms of pathological processes and to apply this information in designing new strategies for disease prevention, early diagnosis and control. Current projects are focused on changes in proteomes of human macrophages in response to HIV-1 infection and/or effect of drug of abuse.  We also study the effect that anti-retroviral therapy may have on the function of macrophage.  These studies will attempt to address the hypothesis that alterations in macrophage immunity occur as a consequence of HIV-1 infection in conjunction with multiple insults from drug of abuse permit the virus to persist in cells despite the macrophage's phagocytic, innate and adaptive immune responses.

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Howard Fox, Ph.D.
E-mail: hfox@unmc.edu

Research Interests: The brain is a unique organ, not only functionally but also in terms of host response to events such as damage and infection. We study processes in which this response leads to neurodegeneration and brain dysfunction. One focus of our recent work is to discover biomarkers, which are objectively measured markers that correlate with disease states. They are useful for predicting risk of disease, development of disease, response to therapy, and other medical indications. Furthermore, they can give important clues to pathogenic mechanisms leading to means to prevent and treat disease, and we are actively following up such mechanistic clues in a variety of systems in the laboratory. There is a distinct lack of such biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases, representing a significant gap in our biomedical knowledge which we aim to close.

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Myron Toews, Ph.D.
E-mail: mtoews@unmc.edu

Research Interests: Our current research focuses on testing the likely importance in lung disease of a novel lipid mediator called lysophosphatidic acid (LPA); we are one of the few labs in the world to be investigating LPA specifically in lung disease at this time. Projects include: measuring LPA in airway fluids from animal models of lung disease to test whether it is present at elevated concentrations; measuring LPA formation in response to various stimuli in isolated lung cells grown in culture to understand its cellular sources and what regulates its production; identifying the many different effects of LPA on lung cells that are likely to contribute to the pathology of lung disease; and testing new drugs targeted at LPA receptors for their ability to either mimic or block the effects of LPA on cultured cells or to alter lung disease in animal models making them candidate new drugs for lung disease. Techniques range from instrumental chemical analysis of LPA through molecular and cellular biology of lung cells to whole animal studies of the physiology, pathology, and drug therapy of lung disease in animal models.

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Nora E. Sarvetnick, Ph.D.
Department of Surgery-Transplant
E-mail: noras@unmc.edu

Research Interests: Overzealous immune responses govern the development of autoimmunity and limit the success of transplants. Our laboratory is interested in the role of immune responses during these processes. We are exploring the means whereby self-tolerance is lost leading to the development of autoimmunity. We are also interested in the specific immune responses to regulate the rejection of grafts. An increased understanding of the event that lead to immune stimulation is important for therapy of autoimmune diseases and the success of transplant surgeries.

For more information on Dr. Sarvetnick: Web Site