Research: Biomedical Sciences

Take your education from the classroom into the research lab. Working side by side with our expert faculty you’ll:

  • Work in collaborative, team-focused environments.
  • Identify your areas of interest under the guidance of faculty mentors.
  • Develop critical thinking, problem solving, and presentation skills.
  • Foster inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches.
  • Gain professional experiences that will advance your career as a researcher.

Research Projects

Our regionally-, nationally-, and internationally-recognized faculty are working on cutting-edge research projects covering the breadth of the biological and biomedical sciences. Current faculty research interests include:


Subcellular Dysfunction in Heart Failure

Heart failure remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide despite advancements in treatment. The Ojamaa Lab is using super-resolution microscopic imaging to study changes in Transverse-tubule networks within failing cardiac muscle cells that can lead to contractile dysfunction and poor cardiac performance. Various treatment strategies targeting these cellular processes are under investigation.

Principal Investigator: Kaie Ojamaa, Ph.D.


Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Renal Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury

Studies the molecular mechanisms by which renal ischemia/reperfusion injury leads to renal injury and renal failure. The goal of the research program is to identify potential targets for development of novel therapeutics to ameliorate or even block ischemia/reperfusion-induced renal damage.

Principal Investigator: Kurt Amsler, Ph.D.


Glucolipotoxicity and Mitochondrial Hormesis in Cardiometabolic Disorders

Studies the effects of excess of glucose and long-chain fatty acids on mitochondrial function and oxidative tone in adipose, renal and cardiovascular tissues.

Principal Investigator: Bardia Askari, Ph.D.


Metabolic Memory and Diabetic Vascular Complications

Studies the role of "metabolic memory" in the development of long-term vascular complications, including atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke, in type 2 diabetes. The goal is to identify the linkage between epigenetic mechanisms and metabolic memory in diabetic vasculature.

Principal Investigator: Maria Alicia Carrillo Sepulveda, BSN, Ph.D.


Low Thyroid Function and Myocardial Infarction

Studies the role of cardiac tissue hypothyroidism in the development and progression of heart diseases. The goal is to test the efficacy of thyroid hormone supplementation in animal models of heart disease to set the stage for clinical trials in humans.

Primary investigator: A. Martin Gerdes, Ph.D.


Coordinated Actions by the Upper Limb

Studies the pattern of sensory processing, planning, and motor execution for coordinated actions of the upper limb. The goal is to determine the functional limits of fast corrective actions, i.e. reflexes, and the role of its neural generators in the spinal cord, brainstem, and cerebral cortex.

Primary investigator: Isaac Kurtzer, Ph.D.


Brain Pathogens in Parkinson's disease

Studies cause and consequences of acne bacteria (P. acnes) in brain cells of Parkinson's patients using post-mortem human brain tissue, cultured cells and animal models. The lab specializes in advanced protein and DNA analytical molecular as well as microscopic techniques including scanning electron microscopy.

Primary investigator: Joerg R. Leheste, Ph.D.


Mitochondrial Quality Control and Heart Failure

Studies the role of mitochondrial quality control processes in increased susceptibility to heart failure in diabetic patients and patients using anti-cancer drugs and how caloric restriction protects against heart failure.

Primary investigator: Qiangrong Liang, Ph.D.


Treatment and Prevention of Lyme Disease

Studies novel antibiotic-treatment regimens and immune responses against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease with an aim towards developing improved treatment and prevention options. Also examines methods of eradicating potential environmental bacterial pathogens that may contaminate certain food products and water.

Primary investigator: Charles Pavia, Ph.D.


Long Noncoding RNAs in Cardiovascular and Related Disorders

Studies the role of long noncoding RNAs in development of cardiovascular, thyroid and related disorders. These studies are expected to develop novel and clinically relevant strategies in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this No. 1 globally life-threatening disease burden.

Principal Investigator: Viswanathan Rajagopalan, Ph.D.