• Keith Maggert, PhD

    Understanding the Origins of Genome Instability


    Training Our Next Leaders in Biomedical Research

  • Noel Warfel, PhD

    Modeling the Effects of Hypoxia on Cancer Cells and Tumor Angiogenesis

  • 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

  • Nathan Ellis, PhD

    Aberrant DNA Replication and Genomic Instability

  • Curtis Thorne, PhD

    Discovering Signals Controlling Cell Fate of Regenerative Tissues

  • Darren Cusanovich, PhD

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

  • Jean Wilson, PhD

    Cell biology of barrier function in inflammatory bowel diseases

  • Tom Doetschman, PhD

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

  • Ray Runyan, PhD

    Regulation of Cell Invasion in Development and Cancer

  • Cynthia Miranti, PhD

    Targeting the Extracellular Matrix and Tumor Microenvironment

  • Casey Romanoski, PhD

    Systems Genetics Approaches to Identify Mechanisms of Complex Diseases


    An Established Leader in Cutting-edge Research

  • Clark Lantz, PhD

    Understanding How Early Life Environmental Exposures Leads to Adult Disease


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.


Dr. Julie Ledford publishes in AJRCCM (December 19, 2018)

Julie Ledford, PhD - an Assistant Professor in CMM - together with colleagues in the Department of Medicine and the Asthma and Airways Disease Research Center recently published their study entitled “Club Cell Secretory Protein Deficiency Leads to Altered Lung Function” in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. While Club Cell Secretory Protein 16 (CC16) has been described as a serum biomarker for obstructive lung diseases, a distinct mechanism of action for CC16 has remained elusive.  This translational study used data from the birth cohort of the Tucson Children’s Respiratory Study (TCRS) and examined the relation of circulating CC16 levels with pulmonary function and responses to bronchial methacholine challenge from childhood up to age 32 years. In parallel, the study set out to comprehensively examine pulmonary physiology in mice sufficient or deficient in CC16.  It was discovered in both mouse and man that deficits in CC16 significantly impaired lung function and increased sensitivity to methacholine. In addition, CC16 deficient mice had increased collagen deposition, smooth muscle thickness and elevated gene expression of factors associated with lung remodeling. Findings in mice support the clinical observations that decreased CC16 levels in serum correlate with worse lung function by providing the first line of direct evidence that lack of CC16 in the lung results in dramatically altered pulmonary function and structural alterations consistent with enhanced remodeling.  PMID: 30543455

Dr. Donata Vercelli is elected first female secretary general of the International Allergy Collegium (November 7, 2018)

Donata Vercelli, MDDonata Vercelli, MD, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the UA College of Medicine and Associate Director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, has been elected the first female secretary general of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum. 

Founded in 1954, the Collegium is a group of distinguished international physicians and scientists who study the emerging field of allergy and clinical immunology.  Dr. Vercelli has been a member of the Collegium for more than 25 years. As the organization’s new secretary general, she eventually will advance to the position of president after serving as the organization’s Vice President.  Dr. Vercelli officially was inducted into her leadership position in early October at the Collegium’s 32nd symposium in Mallorca, Spain.

Dr. Balazs Kiss publishes in PNAS (October 19, 2018)

Balazs Kiss, PhD – a CMM postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Henk Granzier's lab - and colleagures recently published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) about the role of nebulin, a giant sarcomeric, actin-binding protein found in skeletal muscle.  Using X-ray diffraction, it was found that thin filaments are threefold more extensible in nebulin-knockout living muscle. Kiss and colleagues conclude that loss of nebulin's physiological function impairs other thin filament regulatory proteins and interferes with force generation - therefore, nebulin acts to stiffen thin filaments and is responsible for generating physiological levels of force. PMID: 30249654

Dr. Sara Parker publishes in eNeuro (October 3, 2018)

Sara Parker, PhD – a CMM postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Gus Mouneimne’s lab - together with colleagues in the departments of Neuroscience, Pharmacology, an Immunobiology have recently published a new study in the journal eNeuro entitled “High Fidelity Cryopreservation and Recovery of Primary Rodent Cortical Neurons".  Cryopreservation is the process of freezing biological materials, and is used routinely for the storage of cell lines. Certain cells, however, are extremely sensitive to cryostorage, and cannot be frozen such as primary neurons isolated from mouse or rat embryos, which show extremely poor viability when subjected to standard cryopreservation methodologies. Dr. Parker and colleagues, experimenting with a specialty cryopreservation reagent designed for clinical-grade storage of human stem and primary cells, found that this reagent substantially improved the viability of cryopreserved neurons, yielding cells that were indistinguishable from freshly dissected neurons. This experimental tool not only improves efficiency and maximizes utilization of animal-sourced materials, it also facilitates greater collaboration between laboratories. PMID: 30263951

Dr. Darren Cusanovich publishes in Cell (August 2, 2018)

Darren Cusanovich, PhD, led a study published in the most recent issue of Cell presenting a single-cell atlas of chromatin (how the genome is packaged in the nucleus of a cell) patterns in adult mice based on data from almost 100,000 individual cells. Their work sheds light on how the various cell types present in mammals are able to accomplish such different functions while referencing the same genome. This resource may ultimately help us to understand precisely how human diseases develop and manifest in complex tissues. PMID: 30078704

Dr. Marco Padilla-Rodriguez publishes in Nature Communications (August 1, 2018)

Marco Padilla-Rodriguez, PhD – a recent CMM graduate from Dr. Gus Mouneimne’s lab- and colleagues have recently published a new study in Nature Communications highlighting estrogen’s dual effects of promoting tumor growth in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, and suppressing tumor invasion through actin cytoskeletal remodeling. PMID: 30061623

Upcoming Events

College of Science Lecture Series- "The Microbes Shaping Our Lives" - Dr. Donata Vercelli
Tuesday 7:00pm
Centennial Hall

GPMM Student Seminar - Farah Bughio, PhD Student
Tuesday 12:30pm
MRB 102

GPMM Student Seminar - Rhye Kanassatega, PhD Student
Tuesday 12:30pm
MRB 102

GPMM Student Seminar - Alice Solomon, PhD Student
Tuesday 12:30pm
MRB 102

GPMM Student Seminar - Austin Conklin, PhD Student
Tuesday 12:30pm
MRB 102


MD/PhD student Jessika Iwanski (center; Dr. Gregorio's lab) poses with other graduate students at the 2018 Arizona BioRetreat! (9/21/2018)!