We conduct research on cardiac and skeletal muscle with emphasis on genetic diseases involving them. We found that diet has the most potent effect on mouse hearts of any stimulus we have studied. Males exercise less than females in response to a given amount of food when both genders are fed soy, but not when both are fed casein. We are exploring how soy estrogens regulate cardiac growth. We have determined the role of estrogen receptors in these phytoestrogen-mediated events. We have recently documented strong interdependence of cardiac and skeletal muscle adaptation and are doing experiments to define the molecular mechanisms of such cross-talk. Finally, we established a model of extreme physiologic cardiac growth and regression in the Burmese python where hearts double in size within 48 hours following a meal and then regress to pre-feeding size just as quickly. A factor in the serum of the post-fed python induces cellular hypertrophy in rat cardiac cells.
molecular biology, cardiovascular research, human genetic disease, biophysics, myosin, motor proteins, miRNAs, muscular dystrophy, sex differences, metabolism, genome editing, induced pluripotent stem cells
MCDB 4980 - Honors Research
Spring 2021 / Fall 2021
Provides faculty-supervised research for students who have been approved by the departmental honors committee. Normally taken during the semester before completion of the honors thesis. Recommended prerequisite: MCDB 4840 or comparable research experience, and minimum GPA of 3.20.
MCDB 4990 - Honors Thesis
Spring 2018 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2022
Involves the preparation and defense of an honors thesis, based on faculty-supervised original research, including final phases of the research project. Recommended prerequisites: MCDB 4840 or MCDB 4980 or comparable research experience, and minimum GPA of 3.3 and approval by the MCDB Honors Committee.
MCDB 6000 - Introduction to Laboratory Methods
Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
Introduces methodology and techniques used in biological research. Designed as a tutorial between a few students and one faculty member. Students are expected to read original research papers, discuss findings, and to plan and execute experiments in selected areas. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours.