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Research Faculty

  Hall-Anderson, Lisa L.  - PhD  associate professor

Lisa Hall is a co-investigator with Jeanne Lawrence on numerous research projects pertaining to nuclear structure and epigenetic regulation of the genome. Lisa’s main research interest is studying how long non-coding RNAs interact with chromatin, the functional importance of the repeat genome in gene regulation and nuclear structure, as well as our ongoing project silencing the extra chromosome 21 in Down syndrome patient cells using targeted integration of an XIST transgene. Lisa was also the assistant director for the human medical genetics course here at UMMS from 2002-2010, and she continues to teach and help administer the course.

Faculty profile

  Bosco, Daryl - PhD  - associate professor

Elucidating the factors involved in sporadic ALS and investigating protein misfunction associated with neurodegenerative disease. 

Faculty profile       Bosco Lab


Dominov, Janice - PhD - assistant professor

Investigates neuromuscular disease with an emphasis on muscular dystrophies, cell death mechanisms, inflammatory pathway regulation and therapeutics for muscular dystrophies.

Faculty profile

 Esteves Esteves, Miguel - PhD - associate professor

Dr. Esteves is a neuroscientist with interested in gene therapy to help treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Faculty profile


Fen-Biao Gao - PhD  - professor 

Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research


Hayward, Lawrence - MD, PhD  - professor 

Motor Neuron Disease Mechanisms; Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis: a Muscle Ion Channel Disorder.

Faculty profile


Henninger, Nils - MD, PHD - associate professor

Dr. Henninger is a vascular neurologist with a strong research interest in the neurobiology of axonal injury associated with traumatic brain injury and ischemic stroke and its contribution to functional outcome.

Faculty profile

King, Oliver - PhD - assistant professor

Dr. King is a computational biologist, with research interests in algorithm development and the analysis of high-throughput datasets.  As part of a Wellstone Center focusing on facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) he studies transcriptional and epigenetic changes associated with disease, and genetic modifiers of disease severity. He has also worked on automated behavioral analysis of mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases, and on proteins with "prion-like" domains, several of which have been implicated in ALS and multi-system proteinopathy.

Faculty profile

 Landers Landers, John - PhD - professor

Genetics of familial and sporadic ALS

Faculty profile

Lawrence, Jeanne - PhD - professor    

Lawrence lab research bridges fundamental questions of developmental epigenetics with translational research into the common problem of chromosome abnormalities, particularly Down Syndrome. Having initially developed FISH technology to detect single-genes and nuclear RNAs in cells, her work revealed that genes are organized in nuclear compartments, and that an unprecedented non-coding RNA, XIST, structurally coats the inactive X-chromosome.   Using cytological, molecular and genomic approaches, the lab continues fundamental studies of lncRNA function and chromosome regulation.   In addition, a major focus is to harness the epigenetic power of XIST as an experimental approach, in human stem cells and mice, to understand how Trisomy 21 impacts neural development, as well as to investigate the prospects for development of XIST-based “chromosome therapies”. Down Syndrome is now understood to be a form of early-onset Alzheimer Disease, hence ongoing studies have direct relevance for Alzheimer Disease and aging more broadly.

  Emerson, Charles - PhD - professor    

The Emerson Lab investigates skeletal muscle development and disease. Research has focused on defining transcriptional networks and signaling pathways that control the specification and differentiation of skeletal muscle progenitors in the developing embryo. Current studies utilize iPSC and xenograft technologies to  model the molecular pathology of  facioscapulohumeral  (FSHD) and LGMD2i  muscular dystrophies to develop gene editing, RNA and small molecule  therapeutics to treat these diseases.

Faculty profile     Emerson Lab

  Almeida, Sandra - PhD - research assistant professor

My primary research focus is on understanding the molecular mechanisms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer disease (AD). Our strategy involves the use of patient derived cellular models. To date we have generated induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from FTD and ALS/FTD patients carrying mutations in progranulin, C9ORF72, TDP-43 and MAPT, as well as lines from healthy controls. I have differentiated these iPSCs into post-mitotic cortical and motor neurons and applied a variety of approaches to uncover underlying molecular and cellular defects. This approach allows the interrogation of patient-derived neurons in the appropriate, differentiated context, leading to a better understanding of how ALS/FTD mutations impact cellular physiology, resulting in their pathogenic consequences. We are also using a gene editing approach to create CHMP2B mutant iPSCs that can be differentiated into a cellular model for the study of AD cellular pathogenesis. I am particularly interested in exploring and testing potential therapeutic interventions to halt or slow the progression of these and related diseases.

Faculty profile