Complex Diseases - Biology and Genetics

Human complex diseases (e.g., asthma, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, neuro-degenerative and neuro-developmental diseases) are major biomedical challenges, because they are common but difficult to decipher. The complexity of these diseases likely reflects intricate interactions among genetic, environmental and developmental factors that modify disease susceptibility and severity.

Understanding complex diseases is urgent, because these conditions impose a burden on society. Yet, this goal cannot be achieved by isolated research disciplines. Rather, it requires a novel paradigm that successfully integrates research across multiple fields. Because an interdisciplinary approach to basic and translational research is perfectly aligned with the mission of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, the Department chose complex diseases as one of its focus areas. Research targets the developmental and evolutionary biology, immunology, epigenetics, genetics and functional genomics of complex diseases using human and animal models. Our groups seek to identify the mechanistic architecture of complex diseases by focusing on the biological components that are shared by seemingly distinct diseases (for instance, asthma, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases). The Department also sponsors an annual graduate colloquium (Problems in Complex Disease Biology, CMM595H) that has become a nationally renowned forum for complex disease-related themes. Our overall goal is to foster the emergence of a new conceptual, experimental and training paradigm in complex disease biology.

Primary Faculty
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Professor, BIO5 Institute
(520) 626-4901

Exploring the synergistic activities of TGFbeta deficiency and the gut microbiome in colon cancer.
Vice Dean for Innovation and Development – COM - Tucson
Department Head, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Co-Director, Sarver Heart Center
Director, Molecular Cardiovascular Research Program
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Professor, BIO5 Institute
(520) 626-8113

Identifying the components and molecular mechanisms regulating cytoskeletal architecture in cardiac and skeletal muscle during normal development and in disease.
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Associate Department Head, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Investigator, Center for Toxicology
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Public Health
(520) 626-6716

Our lab studies the pulmonary effects following early life exposure to environmental agents relevant to the southwestern United States (arsenic and arsenic containing dusts).
Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
BIO5 Fellow, BIO5 Institute
Faculty, Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program
Member, Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine
(520) 626-7244

Systems genetics approaches to identify mechanisms of complex disease.
Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Member, BIO5 Institute
Member, University of Arizona Cancer Center
Member, Steele Children's Research Center
(520) 626-0395

Combining chemical biology and computer vision approaches to discover cellular communication mechanisms controlling cell fate, self-organization and disease progression of regenerative tissues
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Associate Director, Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center
Director, Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases
Professor, BIO5 Institute
(520) 626-6387

Genetic, epigenetic and environmental mechanisms that control susceptibility to complex lung diseases
Affiliated Faculty
Associate Professor, Immunobiology
Associate Professor, BIO5 Institute
Director, Graduate Program in Immunobiology
Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Associate Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Associate Professor, Genetics - GIDP
Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
(520) 626-7468

Our broad research interests are to understand the molecular underpinnings of viral persistence using herpesviruses as a model system.
Professor, Neurology
Professor, Neuroscience
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
(520) 621-9821

Professor, Medicine
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Vice Chair, Research
(520) 626-8001

My lab studies the relationship between sarcomeric structure and dynamics in the development of complex genetic cardiomyopathies.