The HBC administration is working with leaders of each of these two thematic areas to assists in the development of collaborative research efforts that may lead to either large programmatic research grants or translational science research grants. These areas have been identified as being representative of the current strengths of the HBC investigators.
Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Cancer
The mission of the Division of Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Cancer is to foster an environment of collaboration among the large interdisciplinary group of outstanding researchers studying basic biological processes at the molecular and cellular level and including diverse model organism, developmental biology, and cancer research. Training of graduate students and post-doctoral scientists is a major goal of this division.
Our vision is to understand the molecular mechanisms that define normal organismic development and normal and neoplastic cell growth in order to identify and characterize molecules, pathways and processes that represent new targets for prognostic and therapeutic objectives. Two recent advancements illustrate the strategic goals of this division. In July, 2012, the University of Kansas Cancer Center was officially awarded National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, becoming the 67th such center in the nation. Division members played key roles in the success of this endeavor. At that same time, a major grant, entitled "Center for the Molecular Analysis of Disease Pathways" was funded by the NIH Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). This project, led by Dr. Sue Lunte (Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry) and co-investigators Drs. Erik Lundquist (Molecular Biosciences) and Blake Peterson (Medicinal Chemistry) will provide enabling technologies on campus to analyze human disease pathways using model organisms (flies, worms, zebrafish, and rodents). Future goals of the Division are to build on these recent accomplishments and continue to work together to decipher underlying mechanisms of normal cellular function and behavior in developing and adult organisms and how these normal activities, when deranged, can lead to developmental disorders and cancer.
Neuroscience and Neurodegenerative Diseases
The mission of the Division of Neuroscience and Neurodegenerative diseases of the University of Kansas is to establish an environment to investigate the mechanisms of neurodegeneration and its associated mitochondrial dysfunction, to promote the discovery of novel therapy for neurodegenerative diseases and to facilitate the translational research for these devastating disorders. Our division trains graduate students, post-doctoral and research scientists.
Our vision is to improve therapy for neurodegenerative disorders by focusing on the underlying mechanisms of mitochondrial and synaptic dysfunction. We have an integrated research group with scientists from a variety of disciplines including neuroscientists, medicinal chemists, and clinical scientists and supporting staffs. Our division has created several unique transgenic mouse models targeting mitochondrial function and signal transduction. These models are excellent for studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. The division is engaged in the cutting edge cellular and molecular basic and translational researches in areas of neuroscience and mitochondrial medicine, especially in mitochondrial bioenergic metabolism, axonal mitochondrial transport, synaptic mitochondrial function and synaptic function related to the process of aging, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and other neurodegenerative diseases.