This COBRE, Expanding Excellence in Developmental Biology in Oklahoma, will support five extremely talented, well-trained, newly-hired Junior Investigators working in diverse areas of Developmental Biology. Dr. Hui-Ying Lim comes to us from the Burnham Institute. She will investigate the regulation of cardiac development and function by reactive oxygen species in Drosophila. Dr. Lorin Olson arrived at OMRF after post-doctoral studies at Mt. Sinai. He will study the role of PDGF receptors in fibrosis using genetically engineered mice as model systems. Dr. Roberto Pezza trained at the NIH. He will investigate molecular mechanisms of DNA strand invasion during homologous recombination in meiosis using purified proteins, cell lines, and murine models. Dr. Chris Sansam came to OMRF recently from MIT. He will study mechanisms of DNA repair during mitosis, both during normal development and also after chemotherapy, using cell lines and zebrafish. Dr. Weidong Wang came from iPierian, a biotech company in California. He will develop methods to produce human pancreatic beta cells from induced pluripotent stem cells for treatment of patients with type 1 diabetes. Each Junior Investigator will be assigned two or three mentors, one of whom will be their Program Head. They will also receive feedback and mentoring from an outstanding External Advisory Committee comprised of Drs. Max Cooper (Chair), Nicholas Dysan, Eric Olson, and Patricia Hunt, The Junior Investigators will be supported by four Cores: an Administrative Core, a Bioinformatics and Pathways Core, a Flow Cytometry Core, and an Imaging Core. A monthly seminar series will be initiated to facilitate interactions among the Junior Investigators who are united by common scientific interests, experimental approaches, and bioinformatics challenges. The establishment of this COBRE will promote the careers of these young scientists, encourage multidisciplinary research in Developmental Biology, and build infrastructure that will benefit OMRF and the entire scientific enterprise of the state of Oklahoma.
Developmental Biology and regenerative medicine are disciplines that will lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of human disease. Our five Junior Investigators will create fundamental knowledge that will enable the development of new treatment strategies for diabetes, infertility, systemic fibrosis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, as well as for the prevention of birth defects.
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