• Ray Runyan, PhD

    Regulation of Cell Invasion in Development and Cancer

  • Brett Colson, PhD

    Deciphering the Structural Basis for Muscle Contraction at the Molecular Level

  • Keith Maggert, PhD

    Understanding the Origins of Genome Instability

  • Darren Cusanovich, PhD

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

  • Casey Romanoski, PhD

    Systems Genetics Approaches to Identify Mechanisms of Complex Diseases

  • Noel Warfel, PhD

    Modeling the Effects of Hypoxia on Cancer Cells and Tumor Angiogenesis

  • Tom Doetschman, PhD

    Synergistic Activities of TGFbeta Deficiency and the Gut Microbiome in Colon Cancer

  • Greg Rogers, PhD

    Investigating Mechanisms of Genomic Integrity

  • Samantha Harris, PhD

    Understanding Myosin Binding Protein-C in Health and Disease

  • Carol Gregorio, PhD

    Cytoskeletal Proteins in Striated Muscle Health and Disease

  • Clark Lantz, PhD

    Understanding How Early Life Environmental Exposures Leads to Adult Disease


    An Established Leader in Cutting-edge Research

  • Cynthia Miranti, PhD

    Targeting the Extracellular Matrix and Tumor Microenvironment

  • Gus Mouneimne, PhD

    Understanding How Cytoskeletal Architecture Regulates Cancer Metastasis


    Training Our Next Leaders in Biomedical Research


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.


CMM Master's Student Receives 2019 Centennial Achievement Award (December 3, 2019)

Michelle Ennabe, CMM Master's Student, is one of three Masters Awardees of this year's prestigious Centennial Achievement Award.  Founded in 1987, this honor recognizes graduating students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and contributions to community and family despite facing challenging obstacles along the way.  Read more here.

Mouneimne Lab publishes mechanosensing study in Journal of Cell Biology (October 14, 2019)

In this newest study from the laboratory of Gus Mouneimne, PhD, recently-graduated CMM student Julieann Puleo and colleagues discovered that EVL, the Ena/VASP protein, is crucial for actin polymerization at focal adhesions (FAs). Importantly, they determined that EVL-mediated FA actin polymerization regulates FA maturation and mechanosensing, which are significant steps in mechanically-directed motility and durotactic invasion. This work is a significant contribution to our understanding of how cells interact with their microenvironment in normal and pathological contexts.   PMID: 31594807

Dr. Vercelli's research mentioned in the Washington Post (September 30, 2019)

We are (fortunately) not alone. Microbes should no longer be seen as foes that need to be eliminated at all costs. Work from Donata Vercelli, PhD's laboratory recently featured in the Washington Post shows that living in traditional farming environments means living in a place that is extremely rich in microbes — the right microbes that our immune system has evolved to live with and learn from. The constellation of organisms found in soil and on farm animals programs how a child responds to allergens throughout her lifetime. This programming likely starts in utero and continues to shape the immune system during the first few years of life.  Read more here.

Maggert Lab publishes heterochromatin study in PNAS (September 16, 2019)

A majority of the human genome consists elements called transposable elements – the fossils of evolutionary battles between ancient viruses and their human hosts. The human genome silences these elements by creating a specialized structure called heterochromatin on top of them. Dr. Keith Maggert and graduate student Farah Bughio's study in PNAS shows that heterochromatin is not as stable and reliable a protector as was previously thought, and instead turns on and off randomly and repeatedly throughout life, allowing transposable elements the freedom to once again move around the genome and cause damage.  More information can be found here: PMID 31527269

Dr. Ledford awarded NHLBI grant to study the link between airway infections and obstructive lung disease (September 4, 2019)

Asthma and COPD are the most commonly diagnosed chronic lung diseases in the United States. While it is now recognized that a percentage of severe asthmatics develop fixed airway obstruction, little is known pertaining to the basic underlying mechanisms of this progression. Julie Ledford, PhD and her research team will examine the role of club cell secreted protein (CC16) in the context of airway infection as a previously overlooked link in understanding this progression. These studies may provide a novel therapeutic approach for treating individuals with low circulating CC16 in order to prevent lung function decline over time.

Drs. Cress and Rogers awarded $2.8 million Special Initiatives Provocative Questions Grant (August 27, 2019)

Anne Cress, PhD, and Gregory Rogers, PhD, received the prestigious NCI Provocative Questions Initiative grant to study molecular mechanisms of genomic alterations that contribute to early stages of prostate cancer initiation and progression.  As co-PIs of this multi-PI (MPI) award, they lead an investigative team that includes Drs. Noel Warfel and Ray Nagle to investigate a link between hypoxia and organelle instability.

Upcoming Events

RCR Spring Workshop: Building Productive and Ethical Mentoring Relationships
Thursday 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Date: Thursday, January 16

Time: 2:00-3:30pm (more info here)

Location: Health Sciences Innovation Building, Room 532 (Tucson); Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building, Room E112 (Phoenix)

Facilitators: Dr. Jeannette Hoit, Director - Postdoctoral Affairs and Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; and Dr. Ron Hammer, co-director - Clinical Translational Sciences

Description: Covers the ethics of mentoring with an emphasis on the essential components of creating and maintaining a healthy mentor-mentee relationship. Counts towards RCR Certificate.

RCR Spring Workshop: Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
Wednesday 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Date: Wednesday, January 22

Time: 2:00-3:30pm (more info here)

Location: Main Library, Room 112 (enter from Integrated Learning Center courtyard) (Tucson)

Facilitators: Scott Pryor, Interim Research Integrity Officer - Research, Innovation & Impact

Description: Introduces the components of responsible conduct of research (RCR) and outlines how to meet NSF, NIH, and NIFA requirements. Fulfills core requirements for RCR Certificate.​

RCR Spring Workshop: Ethics of Human Subjects Research
Tuesday 9:00am to 10:30am

Date: Tuesday, January 28

Time: 9:00-10:30am (more info here)

Location: Environmental & Natural Resources 2, Room S215 (Tucson)

Facilitators: Mariette Marsh, Director - Human Subjects Protection Program and HIPAA Privacy Program

Description: Covers the ethical importance of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the process for submitting projects to the Human Subjects Protection Program (HSPP). Counts towards RCR Certificate.​


Drs. Ledford and Kraft win $10K UA Shark Tank Prize

Drs. Julie Ledford, PhD (left) and Monica Kraft, MD (right) win the $10,000 prize during UA Research Day's ‘Shark Tank’ Event for their pitch on a new, inhaled therapeutic for the treatment of asthma and potentially even COPD, cystic fibrosis and pneumonia.