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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Faculty & Staff

  • Jane Azizkhan-Clifford, PhD

    Professor and Chair; Associate Dean for Medical Student Research
    Research Interests: Cellular response to DNA damage, regulation of gene expression, cellular proliferation and the cell cycle.

  • Karen Berkowitz, MD

    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests: Mammalian germ cell development, Molecular mechanisms governing gametogenesis.

  • Michael Bouchard, PhD

    Director, Division of Biomedical Science Programs; Associate Professor
    Research Interests: Hepatitis B virology and hepatic cancer; HBx protein and hepatitis viral replication; calcium signaling and its role in cellular transformation.

  • Irwin Chaiken, PhD

    Research Interests: Protein interactions in health and disease, structure-based antagonism of HIV-1 Env, recombinant protein/peptidomimetic/small molecule inhibitor design and mechanism of action.

  • Simon Cocklin, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests: Macromolecular interaction analysis, HIV-1 replication, strucuture-function relationships, ligand-receptor interactions.

  • Tara Davis, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests: RNA biology, structural biology, X-ray crystallography, pre-mRNA splicing.

  • Denise R. Ferrier, PhD

    Research Interests: Development of curricula (both lecture and problem-based), and of methods to assist and assess student progress through the curricula

  • Bradford Jameson, PhD

    Research Interests: Serotonin, cancer, immune response, lymphocyte, immunomodulation, T cells

  • Marilyn Jorns, PhD

    Research Interests: Metabolism and regulation of biological signaling molecules, mechanism and structural basis of enzyme catalysis.

  • Patrick Loll, PhD

    Research Interests: X-ray crystallography and protein biophysics; integral membrane protein structure; antibiotic resistance; mechanism of anesthetic action; protein homeostasis.

  • Alexander Mazin, PhD

    Research Interests: Mechanisms of DNA double-stranded break repair in humans and in yeast; role of homologous recombination in tumorigenesis; functions of Rad5, Rad54, and Rad51 proteins.

  • Eishi Noguchi, PhD

    Associate Professor; Director, Graduate Program in Molecular & Cellular Biology & Genetics
    Research Interests: Genome maintenance mechanisms relevant to the biology of cancer and aging, including DNA replication, DNA repair, DNA damage response and cell cycle checkpoints; investigating the mechanisms required for preservation of genomic integrity in response to environmental factors and toxins, including alcohol and aldehydes.

  • Mauricio Reginato, PhD

    Professor; Director, Graduate Program in Cancer Biology
    Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms underlying breast cancer growth, survival and spread to distinct organs, in particular how cancer genes alter metabolic pathways and how these pathways may be exploited to target cancers.

  • Noreen Robertson, DMD

    Associate Vice Dean for Research
    Research Interests: Cancer and inflammatory disease

  • Srinivas Somarowthu, PhD

    Research Interests: Long non-coding RNAs; non-coding RNAs in viral genomes; RNA-protein complexes; molecular modeling and bioinformatics.

  • Todd Strochlic, PhD, VMD

    Assistant Professor
    Research Interests: Protein kinases, oncogenic signaling, breast cancer, and Drosophila oogenesis.

  • John Swaney, PhD


  • Michael White, PhD

    Research Interests: Ligand-gated ion channels; structure-function relationships; molecular modeling; ligand-receptor interactions

Joint Faculty Appointments

Gregg Johannes, PhD

Greg Johannes, PhD

Research Interests: My laboratory is interested in understanding the changes in gene expression, translation, and metabolism that occur in response to hypoxia and cellular stress.

Aleister Saunders, PhD

Aleister Saunders, PhD

Research Interests: My laboratory focuses its research efforts on identifying and characterizing genes that are involved in pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We believe our efforts will lead to the identification of novel therapeutic strategies to delay or prevent onset of AD.

Christian Sell, PhD

Christian Sell, PhD

Research Interests: The goal of the laboratory is to understand the mechanisms involved in the lifespan extension provided by decreased growth hormone or insulin-like growth factors and to identify those settings in which supplementation can be of benefit late in life. Due to the broad nature of these questions our laboratory is drawn into diverse areas such as cancer, DNA repair, metabolism and neurobiology.

Akhil Vaidya, PhD

Akhil Vaidya, PhD

Research Interests: We investigate mitochondrial physiology, metabolism, and signaling in malaria parasites with a view to discover new drugs and to understand drug resistance.

Adjunct Biochemistry Faculty

Gordon J. Lutz, PhD

Research Interests: Our major research focus is to develop novel splice modulating oligomers (SMOs) as drugs to treat various serious neurological diseases, neuromuscular/muscular disorders and cancer.

Joseph Nickels, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
PhD (1993) Microbiology & Immunogenetics, University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey (UMDNJ)
Research Interests: Our laboratory has a basic research focus in two different areas. The first area is aimed at understanding the signals that are used in controlling the cell cycle. Under normal circumstances, the cell cycle is carefully controlled to ensure that cells replicate at the "right time." A loss of appropriate cell cycle signaling can result in uncontrolled growth, which often manifests itself as a form of cancer. The other focus of our laboratory is directed at an understanding of the checks and balances governing sterol synthesis. Sterol synthesis is one of the major therapeutic targets in the control of heart disease. Both of these research projects involve extremely complicated regulatory signals. To aid in our basic understanding, we have adopted the yeast system as a means of addressing our experimental questions.
Phone: 609.570.1046

Adjunct Biochemistry Faculty at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Visit Fox Chase Cancer Center

Alfonso Bellacosa, MD *

Research Interests: DNA repair of mismatched bases and the cellular response to DNA damage. Identification of early genetic alterations in tumorigenesis.

Paul Cairns, PhD

Research Interests: The field of epigenetics addresses the set of stable changes that influence gene expression patterns that do not arise from primary mutations in gene sequence. The primary focus of our research program is the translation of basic knowledge of the epigenetics of cancer to improve the early detection, prognosis, and prediction of response to treatment of cancer through novel and well-conceived molecular tests.

Jonathan Chernoff, MD, PhD *

Research Interests: Signal transduction by small G proteins and their effectors and the role of these proteins in regulating cytoskeletal structure, tumor invasion, and metastasis; regulation of insulin signaling.

Edna Cukierman, PhD

Research Interests: Tumor microenvironment and tumor-stroma interactions; a primary fibroblast-derived and in vivo-like 3D system that mimics stroma progression is used to investigate both the mechanisms of matrix induced myofibroblastic differentiation (e.g., desmoplastic activation) and the tumor-associated matrix induced permissiveness that promotes tumorigenesis and cell invasion.  The stroma progressive 3D system also serves as basis for a platform investigating tumor-associated matrix induced drug responsiveness.

Roland Dunbrack, PhD

Research Interests: Computational structural biology, including homology modeling, fold recognition, molecular dynamics simulations, statistical analysis of the PDB and bioinformatics.

Erica Golemis, PhD

Research Interests: Understanding points of communication between the cell cycle machinery and cell shape controls, with particular reference to how these processes are simultaneously disrupted in cancer; the HEF1, HEI10, and HEI-C proteins, which function in cell cycle-cell attachment control pathways.

Eileen K. Jaffe, PhD

Research Interests: Protein structure-function relationships, the role of quaternary structure dynamics in allosteric regulation and drug action.

Warren D. Kruger, PhD

Research Interests: The role of dysregulated methionine metabolism and human diseases; correction of mutant protein function by chaperone therapy; mouse models of human disease.

Jeffrey R. Peterson, PhD

Research Interests: Mechanisms of signaling transduction in cancer. Biochemical and cell biological approaches to understand how information is processed and transmitted in the cell.

Tim Yen, PhD

Research Interests: Our laboratory is broadly interested in mechanisms that regulate genome stability and how these processes are disrupted in cancer cells. We are studying centromere and kinetochore function to understand the molecular defect that causes aneuploidy in cancer cells.  We are also studying mechanisms in cancer cells that promote their survival in response to chemotherapy. The goal of our studies is to develop new strategies to enhance response of cancer cells to chemotherapy.

* Physician's practice is independent of Drexel Medicine and Drexel University.

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Abstract biochemistry and molecular biology research graphic.