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About The Lab


The central goal of our research is make discoveries with the potential of altering the treatment of afflictions for which there are currently no satisfactory therapies. This is the most exciting – and demanding – challenge in all of biomedical research. The difficulties in making such discoveries has all the features that make science exciting, including the opportunity to venture into new territories and make entirely new discoveries, to work on complex problems that are constantly stimulating and to contribute to making the world a better place for individuals and families for whom current medical knowledge is not sufficient to provide benefit.

We pursue these efforts by studying both normal and pathological cell and tissue function to discover new biological principles, and by discovering means of restoring normal function in pathological situations. In addition, we also utilize our new potential therapies as powerful tools of discovery as well as studying their potential as treatments. Thus, we do not approach the challenge of translational research as a one-way flow from the laboratory to the clinic. Instead, we pursue a continuous process of discovery in which information gained from every point along this path has the ability to provide still more new discoveries.

Our central areas of interest are:

  • Discovery of novel cancer treatments that are effective, that do not damage normal tissue, and that can be developed at greater speed and with much less expense than is required for conventional drug development
  • Treatment of diseases in which lysosomal dysfunction plays a prominent role
  • Treatment of acute and chronic damage to the central and peripheral nervous system

Three strategies are of central importance in our research:

  1. The discovery of general biological principles that are applicable to multiple problems provides the foundation of all of our research efforts.
  2. We work at the intersection between stem cell biology, cell metabolism, cell signaling and cell function. While changes in gene expression control which proteins are produced, it is understanding what those proteins do and how their function is modulated that offers the greatest opportunity for the development of therapeutically relevant insights and interventions.
  3. To develop useful interventions with the urgency required for many currently untreatable diseases, we focus our drug discovery efforts on discovering previously unknown properties of compounds approved for other purposes and by taking the known functions of existing drugs and applying them to novel problems.

To accomplish our goals, we partake in a rich collaborative environment in which multiple scientists and clinicians apply their knowledge to common goals. Long-standing collaborations with Dr. Margot Mayer-Pröschel and Dr. Chris Pröschel, who also are faculty members in the Department of Biomedical Genetics and members of the University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute, has provided the opportunity to pursue a broad range of interests. The collaborative grouping of our three laboratories provides a rich training environment for students and postdoctoral fellows, who may work with any of us individually or with any combination of us to achieve their goals. In addition, collaborations with Dr. John Elfar are critical in our work on pharmacological treatments for traumatic injury to the central and peripheral nervous system.

Read more detailed information about our research.