University of Nebraska Medical Center

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Research Areas

Major research areas in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology doctoral program include molecular biology of cancers, cellular signaling, endocytosis and trafficking, cellular communications/gap- and tight-junctions, tumor glycobiology, microbial metabolomics, biomarkers for detection and prognosis of cancer, cancer therapies, cancer stem cells, tumor microenvironment and cancer metastasis.

Molecular Biology of Cancers

This research investigates the tumor-associated genes; cancer diagnostics, cancer vaccines; monoclonal antibodies, genetic engineering of antibodies. Topics include:

  • Different cancers including pancreas, prostate, breast, lung, liver, colon, pediatric and hematological malignancies.
  • Molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis
  • Altered glycans as biomarkers and therapeutic targets of aggressive cancers
  • Regulation of gene expression in leukemia and normal hematopoiesis
  • Development of diagnostics and therapeutics against cancer and allied diseases
  • Combinatorial (Genomic, Proteomic, Exosomal, and Metabolic) diagnostic and prognostic marker(s) for cancer and associated pathologies
  • Epigenomics – Influence of DNA methylation and histone modification on gene expression and the association with cancer development.
  • Role of tumor microenvironment (TME) in the progression of pancreatic cancer
  • MicroRNA expression and function different cancers
  • Mechanism of golgi alteration in advanced prostate cancer: focus on aberrant glycosylation
  • Functional implication of cancer stem cells (CSC) in progression of pancreatic and ovarian cancers
  • Role of oxidative tumor microenvironment in regulating the reciprocal tumor-stroma interactions
  • Molecular mechanisms of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer; and renal pathobiology
  • Metabolomics alterations in cancer progression and metastasis

Cellular Signaling, Endocytosis and Trafficking

This research area is focused on understanding the basic mechanisms, and pathways that control the movement of receptors, proteins and lipids from point to point within the cell. Topics include:

  • Membrane trafficking
  • Vesicular transport
  • Receptor localization and its functions
  • Oncogenic signaling alteration in different cancers
  • Role of free radical signaling in prostate cancer

Cellular Communications/Gap- and Tight-Junctions

This topic of research is focused on analyzing the role and mechanism of tight junctions in different cancers.

  • The role of Tight-Junctions in colorectal cancer progression and metastasis
  • Role of Connexins in prostate cancer
  • Multi-disciplinary approach to identify the key intrinsic regulatory mechanisms that are responsible for Cx43 and Cx45 function

Microbial Metabolomics

This research is focused on understanding the functional implications of microbiomes.

  • Role of microbiome in cancer progression
  • Microbiota and intestinal diseases