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Sarafan ChEM-H Institute Scholars

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What are Institute Scholars?

Innovative faculty tackling interdisciplinary problems. Sarafan ChEM-H has hired a team of faculty members, called our Institute Scholars, who are the center of ChEM-H research. They lead discrete but highly collaborative labs that are committed to advancing our understanding of human health.

Read the latest news from our Institute Scholars

Monther Abu-Remaileh

Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Genetics

The Abu-Remaileh lab explores the molecular mechanisms that impact the lysosome and how lysosomal dysfunction leads to neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and other disorders.

Research areas: aging, metabolism

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Steven Banik

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

The Banik lab aims to characterize and rewire natural cellular mechanisms to develop new tools to study and treat disease. By creating tools that harness and redirect cellular processes, like degrading, modulating, or transporting proteins, the group is developing new ways to understand and treat disease.

Research areas: cancer therapeutics, tool design

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Christopher Barnes

Assistant Professor of Biology and, by courtesy, of Structural Biology

The Barnes lab uses cutting-edge structural biology methods to better understand the human immune response to pathogens. By exploring the structure of antibodies, and the molecules that trigger their production, the Barnes lab aims to develop antibody therapies and vaccines for viruses like SARS-CoV-2 and HIV.

Research Areas: vaccines, structural biology

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Carolyn Bertozzi

Baker Family Director of Sarafan ChEM-H, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Radiology

The Bertozzi lab focuses on developing and applying chemical tools to probe difficult-to-study biological problems, particularly in understanding and and manipulating the roles of sugars in health and disease.

Research areas: glycobiology, immunology

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Laura Dassama

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

The Dassama lab uses chemical tools to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie a variety of biological phenomenon, including multi-drug resistant bacteria and sickle cell disease.

Research areas: infectious disease, sickle cell disease

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Michael Fischbach

Associate Professor of Bioengineering and of Medicine (Microbiology and Immunology)

The Fischbach lab develops and implements new technologies to understand host-microbiota interactions at the molecular level. By understanding and building complex, highly defined microbiome communities, the group hopes to learn more about and ultimately treat a variety of diseases.

Research areas: microbiome, cancer therapeutics

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Polly Fordyce

Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and of Genetics

The Fordyce lab aims to understand and engineer the fundamental yet incompletely understood processes that govern biological functions like transcription and enzymatic activity, processes that are driven by interactions like protein-protein or protein-nucleic acid binding. By developing tools for the high-throughput measurement of these and other molecular interactions, the group aims to model and eventually predict these complex processes.

Research areas: microfluidics, genetics, cell biology

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Nathanael Gray

Krishnan-Shah Family Professor and Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology

The Gray lab designs first-in-class molecules to both probe the mechanisms that drive diseases and also validate new drugging strategies to manipulate those mechanisms. Recent efforts have been directed at harnessing and redirecting the inherent capabilities of the cell to target diseases in new ways.

Research areas: cancer therapeutics, medicinal chemistry

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Christine Jacobs-Wagner

Dennis Cunningham Professor and Professor of Biology

The Jacobs-Wagner lab is unraveling the mechanisms that drive cellular replication. A more complete understanding of the processes involved in how bacterial cells reproduce--phenomena like cell growth and shape change, and chromosomal organization and dynamics--will not only provide fundamental insights into cell biology but also lead to the better rational design of therapeutics.  

Research areas: infectious disease, bacteria, cell biology

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Chaitan Khosla

Wells H. Rauser and Harold M. Petiprin Professor and Professor of Chemistry and, by courtesy, of Biochemistry

The Khosla lab uses a molecular approach to studying metabolism, enzymology, and complex biological pathways related to human health. The group's research includes understanding nature's molecule-making assembly lines, elucidating new drug targets for celiac disease, and developing novel antivirals.

Research areas: celiac disease, enzymes

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Peter Kim

Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of Biochemistry

The Kim lab aims to develop vaccines for traditionally difficult to target diseases like HIV, Ebola, and influenza. By studying the mechanisms that underlie viral infection and the host immune response, the group is pioneering new vaccination strategies.

Research areas: vaccines, infectious disease

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Lingyin Li

Associate Professor of Biochemistry

The Li lab combines expertise in medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, and immunology to uncover the mechanisms behind innate immunity and develop new kinds of therapeutics that harness its power.

Research areas: immunology, cancer therapeutics, biochemistry

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Jonathan Long

Assistant Professor of Pathology

The Long lab studies the huge collection of molecules that cells secrete into the bloodstream. By identifying and studying these molecules, which are involved in a complex web of pathways that trigger responses throughout the body, the group aims to learn which molecules are key in human health and disease and discover new therapeutic candidates or drug targets.

Research areas: metabolism, exercise

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Nicole Martinez

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Developmental Biology

The Martinez lab combines molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics, genetics, and systems biology to understand RNA-based mechanisms of gene regulation.

Research areas: cell biology, genetics

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Paul Mischel

Professor of Pathology

The Mischel lab uncovers the secrets behind extrachromosomal DNA, the long-overlooked circles of DNA that are now known to drive an estimated one-third of all cancers to develop drug resistance. By studying this ecDNA, which does not obey the normal rules of genetic inheritance, the group aims to develop new kinds of therapies for difficult-to-treat cancers.

Research areas: cancer therapeutics, cell biology

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Hawa Racine Thiam

Assistant Professor of Bioengineering

The Racine Thiam Lab investigates the cellular biophysical mechanisms of neutrophil functions with the long-term aim of using this knowledge together with engineering principles to modulate innate immune responses.

Research Areas: Innate immune response, Autoimmune Diseases, NETosis, Neutrophil Biophysics, Nuclear Biophysics

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Stanley Qi

Associate Professor of Bioengineering and of Chemical and Systems Biology

The Qi lab combines genome engineering, synthetic biology, bioinformatics, and molecular design to develop new kinds of cell and gene therapies. By creating an expanded CRISPR gene editing toolbox, the group aims to improve existing and develop new therapies for difficult-to-treat diseases.

Research areas: gene editing, synthetic biology

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