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October 2011 Newsletter

Pediatric Center for Biomedical Research

When a Center really works, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  That is truly what makes the Pediatric Center for Biomedical Research a team!  All of its members work on cell biologic, genomic, and proteomic aspects of organ and tissue development. 

Director James Palis, M.D., investigates stem and progenitor cell biology in the context of the developing organism with a particular focus on the blood-forming system. Understanding the developmental origins and regulation of stem cells will provide important insights into tissue maintenance and organ repair for the eventual cell-based treatment of multiple disease states that afflict children. 

Michael Bulger, Ph.D. investigates the interplay between tissue-specific gene expression and large-scale patterns of chromatin structure with a focus originally on the beta-globin gene locus and the hematopoietic system and now on lung formation and the development of asthma. 

Very much a complement to this approach, the laboratory of new faculty member Laurie Steiner, M.D. studies the role of epigenetic changes in erythroid maturation and development. The laboratory is particularly interested in studying how specific DNA sequences, DNA binding proteins, and chromatin structure interact during normal erythropoiesis and disease states. 

The laboratory of Kate Ackerman, M.D. is focused on elucidating the genetic causes of congenital diaphragmatic hernia and pulmonary hypoplasia by investigating the normal development of the embryonic diaphragm and lung.  The lab also uses forward genetic screening to used to identify novel gene mechanisms for congenital diaphragmatic hernia and other devastating structural birth defects. 

Thomas Mariani, Ph.D. takes a genome-based approach, coupled with the generation and analysis of genetically modified animal models, to better understanding the regulation of lung development, focusing upon genes and pathways contributing to chronic lung disease. 

Eric Phizicky, Ph.D., Elizabeth Grayhack, Ph.D., and Mark Dumont, Ph.D. are developing new technologies to investigate protein structure and function on a genome-wide scale.