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Antonio Barrientos, PhD

Antonio Barrientos, Ph.D.

Professor, Neurology
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


The main research interest of our lab is on the basic mechanisms that govern the biogenesis of mitochondrial protein complexes in health, disease, and aging. We are most specifically interested in the assembly and function of the mitochondrial translation machinery and of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation system components, involved in biological energy transduction.

Sanjoy Bhattacharya, PhD

Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Ph.D.

Professor, Ophthalmology


The Bhattacharya laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach which includes mass spectrometric proteomic and lipidomic approaches to study neurodegenerative diseases. The major focus is a group of progressive irreversible blinding diseases collectively called glaucoma and also a group of demyelinating diseases termed multiple sclerosis that frequently is associated with visual impairment preceding neurological deficits. The lab also has an interest in basic visual processes.

Shanta Dhar, PhD

Shanta Dhar, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Our research is at the interface of chemistry and biology with particular emphasis on nanocarrier mediated intracellular delivery of payloads for potential applications in various diseases. Our research is directed to develop organelle targeted nanoparticles and to study nanoparticle assisted targeted delivery for possible applications in cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and to provide the scientific community with valuable knowledge that can guide into the discovery of potential drug candidates and vaccines.

Mohammad Faghihi, MD, PhD

Mohammad Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences


We study non-protein-coding RNAs and their involvement in neurological and neuropsychological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Fragile X Syndrome.

J. William Harbour, MD

J. William Harbour, M.D.

Director, Ocular Oncology
Mark J. Daily Chair, Ophthalmology
Vice-Chairman, Translational Research

Clinical Trials for High-Risk Uveal Melanoma and Retinoblastoma, Intraocular Lymphoma, Hereditary Eye Tumors, Ocular Biopsy, Using Genetic and Genomic Methods to Develop New Diagnostic, Prognostic and Therapeutic Technologies for Eye Cancers.

Joshua M. Hare, M.D.

Joshua M. Hare, M.D.

Director, Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI)
Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine


We use a multi-faceted approach, from basic research to clinical trials, to understand and improve cardiovascular function.  Our research focuses on optimizing the therapeutic potential of adult stem cells and novel pharmacologic agents, determining the function of nitric oxide in cardiac repair, and understanding cardiovascular development using pluripotent stem cells..

Chaitanya Jain, PhD

Chaitanya Jain, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


DEAD-box proteins comprise a large class of RNA-remodeling proteins, whose cellular functions are poorly understood. We are interested in determining the cellular targets of two E. coli DEAD-box proteins and the mechanisms through which these proteins regulate RNA function.

Stephen Lee, PhD

Stephen Lee, Ph.D.

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


The laboratory studies mechanisms involved in the cellular adaptation to the adverse environmental conditions commonly found within the tumor microenvironment (hypoxia and extracellular acidosis). These extracellular stimuli alter fundamental cellular pathways by 1) activating an alternate translation apparatus that synthesizes proteins only in the absence of oxygen and 2) inducing a new class of long noncoding RNAs that regulate protein function. Ongoing projects blend basic and translational scientific research from the identification of novel stress-induced long noncoding RNA to the discovery of drugs as small molecular inhibitors for these essential tumor biology pathways.

Xue Zhong Liu, PhD

Xue Zhong Liu, Ph.D.

Director of Center for Communication Sciences & Disorders
Director of Miami Otogenetic Program
Leonard M. Miller Professor, Otolaryngology; Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Pediatrics

Stephen Nimer, MD

Stephen Nimer, M.D.

Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


Dr. Nimer has spent several decades conducting basic science and clinical research into the genetic basis and treatment of hematological malignancies. His laboratory has been trying to decipher the normal and abnormal regulatory mechanisms that control the expression of genes implicated in hematopoiesis and the biological mechanisms that control the formation of blood cells. The ultimate goal of his research is to identify new critical, cellular mechanisms implicated in leukemogenesis and develop molecularly targeted therapies.

David J. Robbins, PhD

David J. Robbins, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Surgery


Developmental signaling pathways, such as those driven by Hedgehog and Wnt, are constitutively active in many of the most common human cancers, where they affect the mortality and morbidity of large numbers of cancer patients. My laboratory is focused on elucidating the rate-limiting steps in these signaling pathways, and then targeting them with novel small molecule inhibitors. We have identified a number of FDA approved drugs that can be quickly repurposed to treat patients harboring Hedgehog or Wnt driven cancers, one small molecule that was recently designated by the FDA for the orphan precancerous disorder familial adenomatous polyposis, and a novel small molecule Wnt inhibitor in late-stage preclinical development. Currently, the lab is investigating the role of constitutive Hedgehog or Wnt signaling play in pediatric brain tumors, as well as in colorectal and esophageal cancer.

Michal Toborek, MD, PhD

Michal Toborek, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Vice-Chair for Research


Specific interests in Dr. Toboreks laboratory involve studies on the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and how different pathological conditions can lead to the disruption and/or dysfunction of the BBB. Several projects are focused on HIV-1 trafficking into the brain. Another area of interest of Dr. Toboreks laboratory is connected to the effects of drugs of abuse on the brain endothelium.  Molecular mechanisms of cerebrovascular toxicity induced by methamphetamine alone and in combination with HIV are studied both in in vitro and in vivo experimental settings.

Omaida Velazquez, MD, PhD

Omaida Velazquez, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Director, Vascular Laboratory, University of Miami Hospital
Professor, Surgery
Vice-Chairman for Research Department of Surgery


Dr. Velazquez's current research focuses on further understanding and advancing new treatments for lower extremity arterial occlusive disease and diabetes-related wound healing defects. Dr. Velazquez is the Principal Investigator of an NIH-funded basic science laboratory that investigates endothelial cell biology, angiogenesis, and vasculogenesis. Her clinical expertise focuses on endovascular and other minimally invasive approaches in the surgical treatment of vascular diseases. She has extensive expertise in both open and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, open and endovascular treatments for carotid, mesenteric, and renal stenosis and novel treatments for critical limb ischemia.

Yanbin Zhang, PhD

Yanbin Zhang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


Interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) are among the most toxic DNA lesions since they covalently tether both duplex DNA strands and prevent essential DNA metabolisms such as replication and transcription. Deficient ICL repair underlies the cancer-prone hereditary syndrome Fanconi anemia. We are interested in deciphering the molecular mechanism of ICL repair, delineating the role of Fanconi anemia proteins in DNA repair, and studying the relationship between Fanconi anemia proteins and human cancers. Our research relies on a biochemically defined reconstitution system and cell-based analyses.