The Department of Molecular Medicine in the Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) was established in 1994 to administer a program to train graduate students at the interface of basic and clinical sciences with an emphasis on biomedical research focused on discovering the molecular mechanisms underlying human disease and to serve as a platform for the development of novel treatment or prevention approaches. To date, our program has awarded over 80 doctoral degrees. Our graduates are placed in top-tier research universities and pharmaceutical companies across the United States and Europe. Our faculty have been successful in securing tens of millions of dollars from private and federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense.
Now also located in the South Texas Research Facility (STRF), we offer a research-oriented, interdisciplinary program of study in the areas of cancer and aging and their prevention. Specific areas of study include: cell (and hormone) signaling, gene expression, epigenetics, cell cycle and checkpoint controls, DNA damage repair and associated stress responses, and regulated protein turnover. Under new leadership, Dr. Tim Huang is expanding our research to include a “Systems” approach to molecular medicine that offers students an integrated training program spanning molecular and cellular biology, quantitative biology, computational biology, and genomics.
Our goal is to educate and train the next generation of graduate students who will change the face of biomedical research and invent new ways to treat and prevent human diseases.
Recent Publications with High Impact Factors
Hsu YT, Osmulski P, Wang Y, Huang YW, Liu L, Ruan J, Jin VX, Kirma NB, Gaczynska ME, Huang TH. EpCAM-Regulated Transcription Exerts Influences on Nanomechanical Properties of Endometrial Cancer Cells that Promote Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition. Cancer Res. 2016 Aug 28. pii: canres.0752.2016. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27569206.
Salmon A, Kim G, Liu C, Wren J, Georgescu C, Richardson A, Levine R. Effects of transgenic methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MsrA) expression on lifespan and age-dependent changes in metabolic function in mice. Redox Biology. 2016 Oct 25.
Gong Q, Hu Z, Zhang F, Cui A, Chen X, Jiang H, Gao J, Chen X, Han Y, Liang Q, Ye D, Shi L, Eugene Chin Y, Wang Y, Xiao H, Guo F, Liu Y, Zang M, Xu A, Li Y. Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 Improves Hepatic Insulin Sensitivity by Inhibiting Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Complex 1. Hepatology. 2016; 64:425-438. PMID: 26926384.
Nair S, Zhang X, Chiang H-C, Jahid MJ, Wang Y, Garza P, April C, Salathia N, Banerjee T, Gelfond JAL, Alenazi FS, Ruan J, Fan J-B, Parvin JD, Jin VX, Hu Y, Li R. (2016) Genetic Suppression Reveals DNA Repair-Independent Antagonism between BRCA1 and COBRA1 in Mammary Gland Development. Nat Commun. In press.
Hsu PY, Hsu HK, Hsaio TH, Ye Z, Wang E, Profit AL, Jatoi I, Chen Y, Kirma NB, Jin VX, Sharp ZD, Huang TH. Spatiotemporal control of estrogen-responsive transcription in ER α-positive breast cancer cells. Oncogene. 2016; 35(18):2379-89. PMID: 26300005.
Ye Z, Chen Z, Sunkel B, Frietze S, Huang TH, Wang Q, Jin VX. Genome-wide analysis reveals positional-nucleosome-oriented binding pattern of pioneer factor FOXA1. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Sep 19;44(16):7540-54. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw659. Epub 2016 Jul 25. PMID: 27458208
Niikura Y, Kitagawa R and Kitagawa K. CENP-A Ubiquitylation is the epigenetic mark for centromere identify. Cell Reports 2016, 15: 61-76.
Nair S, Zhang X, Chiang H-C, Jahid MJ, Wang Y, Garza P, April C, Salathia N, Banerjee T, Alenazi FS, Ruan J, Fan J-B, Parvin JD, Jin VX, Hu Y*, Li R*. (2016) Genetic Suppression Reveals DNA Repair-Independent Antagonism between BRCA1 and COBRA1 in Mammary Gland Development. Nat Commun. 7:10913. (*co-corresponding authors)
Cheng, H., Bao, X., and Rao, H (2016) The F box protein Rcy1 is involved in the degradation of Histone variant Cse4 and genome maintenance. J. Biol. Chem 291: 10372-10377. PMID: 26975376
Strong R, Miller RA, Antebi A, Astle CM, Bogue M, Denzel M, Fernandez E, Flurkey K, Hamilton KL, Lamming DW, Javors MA, de Magalhães JP, McCord JM, Miller BF, Müller M, Nelson JF, Ndukum J, Rainger GE, Richardson A, Sabatini DM, Salmon AB, Simpkins JW, Nadon NL, Harrison DE. Longer lifespan in male mice treated with a non-feminizing steroid, an antioxidant, an α-glucosidase inhibitor or a Nrf2-inducer. Aging Cell (in press). 2016.
Mirkheshti N, Park S, Song CS, Jiang S, Werner SL, Cropper JD, Chatterjee B, Dual Targeting of Androgen Receptor and mTORC1 by Salinomycin in Prostate Cancer, Oncotarget; doi 10.18632/oncotarget. 11404., PMID 27557496
Prakash CP, Zuniga B, Song C, Jiang S, Cropper J, Park S, Chatterjee B. Nuclear receptors in drug metabolism, drug response, drug interactions. Nuclear Receptor Research, doi:10.11131/2015/101178; 2:101178, 2015. PMCID: PMC4963026; PMID: 27478824
Recently Awarded Grants
Mediator as a Transducer of Amyloid Precursor Protein-Dependent Nuclear Signaling
National Institutes of Health (1 R21 AG051962-01, 8/16), $450,868
Thomas G. Boyer, Ph.D.
Conduct Structure Activity Relationship (SAR) Studies to Optimize the Structure of the Lead Compound B1
Owens Foundation (1/16), $130,724
Maria E. Gaczynska, Ph.D.
Epigenetic-Mediated Alternative Splicing in SF3B1-Mutated CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) Patients
Owens Foundation (1/16), $100,000
Victor X. Jin, Ph.D.
Targeting Microhomology-Mediated End Joining to Sensitize Recombination-Deficient Cancer Cells
Owens Foundation (1/16), $100,000
Sang Lee, Ph.D.
Re-Sensitizing ER-Alpha Mutant Breast Cancer Cells to Hormonal Therapy
National Institutes of Health (1 R21 CA209154-01, 7/16), $398,026
Rong Li, Ph.D.
Recruitment of First Time, Tenure Track Faculty Members
Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (RR160017, 3/16), $2,000,000
Zhijie Liu, Ph.D.
Functional and Architectural Studies of ERA Enhancer in Breast Cancer Hormone Resistance
V Foundation (V2016-017, 11/16), $200,000
Zhijie Liu, Ph.D.
How a Sun Protection Complex Moonlights in Proteolysis
National Institutes of Health (1 R01 GM118350-01, 9/16), $598,240
Hai Rao, Ph.D.
A New Strategy for Protein Misfolding Diseases
Owens Foundation (1/16), $99,660
Hai Rao, Ph.D.
Chemoprevention of Colon Cancer by Anti Inflammatory Blockade Using Neem
Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (RP160124, 3/16), $899,619
Michael J. Wargovich, Ph.D.
O-Glcnacylation of Ezh2: A Sweet Bridge Linking Metabolism and Epigenetics in Cancer
Voelcker Fund (7/16), $150,000
Kexin Xu, Ph.D.