We have 30 laboratories that investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind disease and the operations of complex systems. This fundamental understanding of how biology works leads to discoveries and better therapeutic interventions. Our scientists often take existing knowledge and link it in new ways- behind every breakthrough are basic discoveries.
The structure and organization of cellular nuclear material, or chromatin, is critical in ensuring that cells activate relevant genes correctly and sort chromosomes properly during cell division. Malfunctions in these processes can result in miscarriage, birth defects, genetic diseases and cancer formation and proliferation. Researchers in the division use advanced laboratory and imaging techniques to understand the multiple complex molecular systems that govern chromatin structure as well as DNA transcription, RNA processing and translation and other controls of gene expression.
Researchers in the division explore multiple aspects of the complex molecular, cellular, and organismal mechanisms that regulate normal growth and development. Using advanced laboratory techniques, animal model systems and computer modeling, division scientists maintain active investigations into neonatal health, obesity, suspended animation, organismal development, wound repair, and changes in the cytoskeleton.
Studying the evolution of viruses enables researchers to understand how these organisms evade our immune system and develop resistance to existing therapies. These investigations provide a deeper understanding of human immunity while revealing novel means for protecting the body from viruses like HIV, influenza, and other lentiviruses. Researchers in the division use a wide variety of laboratory tools and techniques as well as mathematical and animal models to study the interactions between viruses and their host cells both now and throughout evolutionary history.
Disruptions in the growth, proliferation, differentiation and migration of neural cells or in the development of synaptic connections can lead to disease and mental illness. Studying the normal mechanisms behind these complex developmental systems can help scientists better understand how to diagnose and treat related disorders. Researchers in the division are also interested in how neural cells detect their environment, proliferate, and migrate, so they can develop targeted therapies that might prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading using similar molecular mechanisms.