Research Groups

There are currently over 30 research groups at the Dunn School, with leaders drawn from across the world. Their diverse interests, backgrounds and expertise creates a dynamic and stimulating environment. Many groups share common research interests which fosters the vibrant scientific community found at the Dunn School.

Oreste Acuto

Molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and differentiation

We are interested in understanding how T cells, central actors of adaptive immune responses, become activated when they encounter foreign substances. Dissecting the molecular underpinning of this process may lead to the discovery new and more effective ways to diagnose, prevent and heal immune dysfunction...

Dragana Ahel

Mechanisms of genome stability

The maintenance of a complete and undamaged genome is critical for survival. Because DNA is continuously exposed to genotoxic stress, cells have evolved mechanisms that are specialized for correcting different types of DNA damage. These mechanisms play essential roles in the maintenance of genome integrity and their deficiencies have been...

Ivan Ahel

DNA repair mechanisms and human disease

Our genome is constantly exposed to various types of DNA damage, both endogenous and exogenous. It has been estimated that the DNA in every cell of our body suffers thousands of DNA lesions per day, which, if left unattended, can lead to mutations and/or cell death. Our cells have evolved a variety of mechanisms to counteract...

Luis Alberto Baena

Deciphering the emerging functions of caspases

Most of the scientific focus on the evolutionarily conserved family of caspases has been aimed at understanding their role as key regulators of cell death. However, recent evidence suggests the involvement of these proteins in alternative cellular functions such as cell proliferation, cell differentiation and cell migration...

Tanmay Bharat

Structural cell biology of bacterial biofilm formation

Rather than living as single, isolated cells in liquid cultures, most bacteria on this planet form macroscopic, surface-attached, multi-cellular communities known as biofilms. Bacterial biofilms play a role in many diseases and medical conditions including cystic fibrosis, bone, wound and urinary tract infections....

Marion H Brown

Molecular interactions of leukoctye surface receptors

We study how immune regulation depends on molecular interactions of leukocyte surface receptors. The overall effect of a receptor can vary from activation to inhibition. It is critical to understand how this is controlled to interpret the role of a receptor in a complex biological system and for designing therapeutic...

Pedro Carvalho

Organelle biogenesis and homeostasis

A defining feature of eukaryotic cells is the presence of a variety of membrane-bound organelles. Each one of these organelles has a specialized set of functions and a unique identity conferred by a distinct set of lipid and protein molecules. Our lab studies how organelle identity, function and architecture is generated and...

Omer Dushek

Molecular immunology of signal integration by T cell surface receptors

T cells are important white blood cells that continually circulate in the body in search of the molecular signatures ('antigens') of infection and cancer. When encountering such antigens T cells become activated and subsequently initiate immune responses in order to clear these threats. Their...

Fumiko Esashi

Genome Stability and Cell Cycle

Our research goal is to elucidate how proliferating human cells safeguard their genomic DNA against various stresses coming from the environment (e.g., UV, radiation, chemicals) and from normal processes of cell growth (e.g., metabolic byproducts, DNA replication, transcription).

Paul Fairchild

Exploring the interface between immunology and regenerative medicine

Although the dramatic increase in life expectancy over the past century is arguably one of medicine’s greatest successes, it is also responsible for the rising incidence of chronic and degenerative diseases throughout the developed world. The properties of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) offer an...