• Noel Warfel, PhD

    Modeling the Effects of Hypoxia on Cancer Cells and Tumor Angiogenesis

  • Donata Vercelli, MD

    Uncovering mechanisms that control susceptibility to complex lung diseases

  • Anne Cress, PhD

    Regulation of Integrin Structure and Function in Human Cancer Cell Progression

  • Nathan Ellis, PhD

    Aberrant DNA Replication and Genomic Instability

  • Ray Runyan, PhD

    Regulation of Cell Invasion in Development and Cancer


    An Established Leader in Cutting-edge Research

  • Yana Zavros, PhD

    Organoid-based Pre-clinical Models to Study Gastric and Pancreatic Diseases

  • Cynthia Miranti, PhD

    Targeting the Extracellular Matrix and Tumor Microenvironment


    Training Our Next Leaders in Biomedical Research

  • Casey Romanoski, PhD

    Systems Genetics Approaches to Identify Mechanisms of Complex Diseases

  • Gus Mouneimne, PhD

    Understanding How Cytoskeletal Architecture Regulates Cancer Metastasis

  • Jared Churko, PhD

    Informatics to Understand Cardiovascular Development and Disease Mechanisms

  • Darren Cusanovich, PhD

    Understanding How the Genome Regulates Diverse Cell Types in Development and Disease

  • Samantha Harris, PhD

    Understanding Myosin Binding Protein-C in Health and Disease

  • Brett Colson, PhD

    Deciphering the Structural Basis for Muscle Contraction at the Molecular Level


Message from the Chair

The mission of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) is to provide pre- and post-doctoral, medical and graduate education in an interdisciplinary environment through research activities, to advance knowledge of biological structure as related to function and disease from the molecular level to the whole organism.

Recent Publications

  • Systems Genetics in Human Endothelial Cells Identifies Non-coding Variants Modifying Enhancers, Expression, and Complex Disease Traits.
    Author(s): L.K. Stolze; A.C. Conklin; M.B. Whalen; M.López Rodríguez; K. Õunap; I. Selvarajan; A. Toropainen; T. Örd; J. Li; A. Eshghi; A.E. Solomon; Y. Fang; M.U. Kaikkonen; C.E. Romanoski
    Date Published: 2020 May 16
    PMID: 32442411
  • Study of the Expression Transition of Cardiac Myosin Using Polarization-Dependent SHG Microscopy.
    Author(s): C. Yuan; X. Zhao; Z. Wang; T.K. Borg; T. Ye; Z.I. Khalpey; R.B. Runyan; Y. Shao; B.Z. Gao
    Date Published: 2020 Mar 10
    PMCID: PMC7063480  PMID: 31995740
  • HNF4a transcription is a target of trichloroethylene toxicity in the embryonic mouse heart.
    Author(s): S. Chen; A. Lencinas; M. Nunez; O.I. Selmin; R.B. Runyan
    Date Published: 2020 Mar 01
    PMCID: PMC7250168  PMID: 32159184
  • Birth of a pathway for sulfur metabolism in early amniote evolution.
    Author(s): M. Malatesta; G. Mori; D. Acquotti; B. Campanini; A. Peracchi; P.B. Antin; R. Percudani
    Date Published: 2020 Jun 29
    PMID: 32601391
  • Triggering typical nemaline myopathy with compound heterozygous nebulin mutations reveals myofilament structural changes as pathomechanism.
    Author(s): J. Lindqvist; W. Ma; F. Li; Y. Hernandez; J. Kolb; B. Kiss; P. Tonino; R. van der Pijl; E. Karimi; H. Gong; J. Strom; Z. Hourani; J.E. Smith; C. Ottenheijm; T. Irving; H. Granzier
    Date Published: 2020 Jun 01
    PMID: 32483185


Romanoski Lab links DNA polymorphisms to individual disease risk in AJHG (June 4, 2020)

Research from Casey Romanoski, PhD's Laboratory - led by Genetics PhD student Lindsey Stolze - linked polymorphisms in people's DNA sequence with molecular characteristics of how cells convert genetic code into the building blocks for proteins. This report is among the very first to use molecular Quantiative Trait Locus mapping at such depth, and the first to apply it in human endothelial cells. The authors pinpoint DNA polymorphisms that cause particular genes to be made into cellular building blocks at different rates across people, which serves as a springboard for understanding individualized disease risk and mechanisms to overcome it.  PMID: 32442411

Granzier Lab describes new model of nemaline myopathy in Nature Communications (June 3, 2020)

Johan Lindqvist, PhD and the laboratory of Henk Granzier, PhD recently published a paper in Nature Communications describing a novel mouse model of nemaline myopathy, a heterogenous disease with unclear pathological mechanisms. This novel mouse model mimics the most common genetic cause of the nemaline myopathy and demonstrates that the muscle weakness in this model is associated with twisted actin filaments and altered tropomyosin and troponin behavior. PMID: 32483185

Dr. Helen Amerongen receives 2020 Faculty Mentoring Award (May 21, 2020)

Helen Amerongen, PhD was recently awarded a 2020 College of Medicine Mentoring Award, which honors faculty members who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the mentorship of junior faculty.  Recipients were formally recognized at the May General Faculty Meeting of the College of Medicine – Tucson.  Read more here

Dr. Darren Cusanovich selected for a University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Award (April 30, 2020)

Research Assistant Professor Darren Cusanovich, PhD was announced as one of four recipients of the UAHS Career Development Award this year. The CDA program, established in 2014, provides research training and funding for junior faculty members to foster academic careers in clinical and translational research. The award will support Dr. Cusanovich's work, in collaboration with Dr. Mohamed Ahmed in Neonatology, using single-cell genomics to better understand the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a lung disease that affects prematurely born children. Read more here.

Dr. Gregory Rogers receives $2.6M Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) R35 from the NIGMS (April 29, 2020)

Associate Professor Gregory Rogers, PhD, recently received an R35 MIRA grant, a 5-year award for established investigators from the NIGMS.  The goal of this basic science proposal is to utilize Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to dissect the molecular mechanisms that underlie the assembly, growth, and function of centrioles - the core subunits of centrosomes.

Dr. Thorne's laboratory receives COVID-19 Rapid Turn-Around Seed Grant (April 16, 2020)

Assistant Professor Curtis Thorne, PhD in collaboration with Dr. Koenraad Van Doorslaer were awarded a Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF) grant from the BIO5 Institute. The goal of their project is to rapidly test bioactive, clinically actionable and structurally diverse compounds for their activity in disrupting COVID-19 replication in bronchial tissue models. To accomplish this, Thorne and Van Doorslaer are developing a novel high-throughput assay to tract viral replication at the sub-cellular level with plans to make all data available in realtime to the international scientific community.


Drs. Curtis Thorne (left) and Koenraad Van Doorslaer (right) were featured on Tucson News KOLD-TV to discuss their high-throughput assay that tracks the effect of FDA approved drugs on novel coronavirus replication in lung cells.