• Darren Cusanovich, PhD

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


    Training Our Next Leaders in Biomedical Research


    An Established Leader in Cutting-edge Research

  • Anne Cress, PhD

    Regulation of Integrin Structure and Function in Human Cancer Cell Progression

  • 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

  • Jared Churko, PhD

    Informatics to Understand Cardiovascular Development and Disease Mechanisms

  • Keith Maggert, PhD

    Understanding the Origins of Genome Instability

  • Henk Granzier, PhD

    Studying the roles of titin and nebulin in striated muscle

  • Carol Gregorio, PhD

    Cytoskeletal Proteins in Striated Muscle Health and Disease

  • Jean Wilson, PhD

    Cell biology of barrier function in inflammatory bowel diseases

  • Gus Mouneimne, PhD

    Understanding How Cytoskeletal Architecture Regulates Cancer Metastasis

  • Donata Vercelli, MD

    Uncovering mechanisms that control susceptibility to complex lung diseases

  • Casey Romanoski, PhD

    Systems Genetics Approaches to Identify Mechanisms of Complex Diseases

  • Joann Sweasy, PhD

    Mechanistic Insights Into the Roles of Aberrant DNA Repair


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

  • Mutations as a Driver of Metastasis Signaling in Advanced Cancer Patients.
    Author(s): R. Pandey; N. Johnson; L. Cooke; B. Johnson; Y. Chen; M. Pandey; J. Chandler; D. Mahadevan
    Date Published: 2021 Feb 03
    PMID: 33546249
  • Targeting PIM Kinases to Overcome Therapeutic Resistance in Cancer.
    Author(s): R.K. Toth; N.A. Warfel
    Date Published: 2021 01
    PMID: 33303645
  • SARS-COV2 and common immunodominant regions may explain low COVID-19 incidence in the malaria-endemic belt.
    Author(s): M.Am Iesa; M.Em Osman; M.A. Hassan; A.Ia Dirar; N. Abuzeid; J.J. Mancuso; R. Pandey; A.A. Mohammed; M.J. Borad; H.M. Babiker; E.He Konozy
    Date Published: 2020 Nov 19
    PMCID: PMC7674012  PMID: 33230417
  • 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


Cusanovich Lab develops new single-cell epigenomic assay and surveys gene regulation across human tissues in Science (November 12, 2020)

Work from Research Assistant Professor Darren Cusanovich, PhD's Laboratory in collaboration with his former colleagues at the University of Washington developed a new single-cell chromatin assay that can generate data on 100s of thousands or millions of cells at a time. The group then used this method to profile how the genome regulates gene expression across various tissues of the human body. This represents one of the largest single-cell chromatin datasets ever published and suggests many novel aspects of human biology, including cataloging regulatory elements across 17% of the genome, identifying a novel regulator of neuronal development and helping to highlight the adrenal gland as a normal site of red blood cell production in development. Read more here.

Dr. Darren Cusanovich receives $1.8M Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators (ESI MIRA) R35 from NIGMS (August 21, 2020)

Research Assistant Professor Darren Cusanovich, PhD, recently received an ESI MIRA R35 grant, a 5-year award for early career investigators from the NIGMS, for his proposal entitled "Beyond Pseudotime: Enhanced Single-cell Genomics Tools for Understanding the Temporal Dynamics of Development and Disease."  This grant will fund work in the Cusanovich lab aimed at developing better tools for measuring (at single cell resolution) how gene expression and gene regulatory patterns change over time. You can find more information about his group's work here.

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.

Upcoming Events

CMM Seminar Series: Jessika Iwanski, MD/PhD Candidate
Thursday 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Zoom: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/99963202588 Passcode: 961115

CMM Seminar Series: Nichlas Engels, PhD Student
Thursday 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Zoom: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/99963202588 Passcode: 961115

CMM Seminar Series: Dr. Emily Davenport
Thursday 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Zoom: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/99963202588 Passcode: 961115

CMM Seminar Series: Natalie Iannuzo, PhD Student
Thursday 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Zoom: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/99963202588 Passcode: 961115

CMM Seminar Series: Tania Larrinaga, PhD Student
Thursday 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Zoom: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/99963202588 Passcode: 961115


Dr. Carol Gregorio was recently appointed Assistant Vice Provost for Global Health Sciences and interim Executive Director of UArizona Health Sciences Global and Online.

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.