Cell Architecture and Dynamics: Area of Research Excellence



  • Congratulations to Dr. Maria Diakonova and her team for receiving a new R15 ($452,000 for three years) on the "Role of prolactin in adipocytes- breast cancer cell crosstalk."

  • Congratulations to Dr. Wissam Aboualaiwi and his team for receiving the Alzheimer's Association Research Grant — New to the Field Program (AARG/AARG-D-NTF) for his proposal entitled "Cerebrovascular endothelial cilia in Alzheimer's Disease and hypertension”. This is a 3-year grant with a total budget of $165,000. Dr. William Messer and Dr. James Burkett from UToledo are collaborators on the grant and Dr. LaFerla from UC Davis is a consultant. Also Dr. Aboualaiwi’s NIH/NIA R03 grant with $309,000 total budget over two years was reviewed a week ago and received an impressive 8 percentile score with a funding decision to be made in October during council meeting. Drs. Messer and Burkett are also collaborators on this NIH grant and Dr. Jurgen Wess from NIDDK is a Consultant.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Qian Chen and team, University of Toledo Department of Biological Sciences, who received an award of $1.6 million for his National Institutes of Health (NIH) RO1 funded project titled, 'The mechanism of cell size regulation by polycystin'.

  • Training in Translational and Molecular Cell Dynamics (TMCD) - The Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (T32, G-RISE) at The University of Toledo aims at increasing the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded to students who are underrepresented in translational and biomedical science research. How to Apply

  • Dr. Dayanidhi Raman, Department of Cancer Biology, has received an NIH R21 award for his application titled "Targeting of eIF4A along with immunotherapy to overcome chemoresistance". This is a two-year grant for $333,561.

  • Dr. Qian Chen, Department of Biological Sciences, has received an NSF CAREER award for his application titled “CAREER: The regulation of calcium by calcium.” This is a five-year grant for $700,904. Dr. Chen would like to thank many faculty members in this group, including Dr. Conti and Dr. Karunarathne, who helped him improve the proposal


  • Dr. William Gunning and Dr. Blair Grubb are collaborating on innovative research to prove the long-held theory that POTS is an autoimmune disorder.

  • Barkha Ramnani, Praveen Manivannan, Sarah Jaggernauth and Dr. Malathi Krishnamurthy published their latest manuscript, “ABCE1 Regulates RNase L-Induced Autophagy during Viral Infections”, in Viruses 2021, 13(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020315. This study by Ramnani et al investigates the mechanisms by which components of an evolutionarily conserved recycling pathway of autophagy (also known as self-eating) are regulated by antiviral proteins to affect the outcome of viral infections. These studies will inform of commonly used drugs that induce autophagy as new regulators of viral infection that may exacerbate viral diseases.

  • Dr. Timothy Mueser's lab is conducting research showing that microgravity produces high-quality protein crystals that can be analyzed to identify possible targets for drugs to treat disease. According to Ph.D. candidate Victoria Drago (Mueser Lab), “Real-Time Protein Crystal Growth 2 affords us the opportunity to grow, monitor, and optimize protein crystal growth in microgravity through real-time communication with space station crew members”. Astronauts will check the crystals, report on their growth, and then make changes based on initial observations. Northrop Grumman Corporation is targeting no earlier than 12:36 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, for the launch of its #Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket from the launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The Cygnus spacecraft will carry crew supplies, scientific research, and hardware to the orbiting laboratory to support the NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Expedition 64 and 65 crews. Full article: https://go.nasa.gov/2Zta0ai

  • Dr. Ajith Karunarathne received funding on his National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 proposal, “Optical Control of Endogenous G Protein Coupled Receptor and G Protein Signaling”. This three-year grant for $939,848 is a collaboration with Dr. Steven Sucheck to develop photoligands for in vivo applications.

  • Dr. Qian Chen lab publication has been selected by The American Society for Cell Biology Molecular Biology of the Cell Journal as a highlight for its January 2021 Issue! The Chen Lab at The University of Toledo explored cytokinetic calcium transients in #FissionYeast by adopting GCaMP, a genetically encoded calcium indicator, to determine the intracellular calcium level of this model organism in the article, Calcium spikes accompany cleavage furrow ingression and cell separation during fission yeast #cytokinesis. Published online: 29 Dec 2020. https://doi.org/10.1091/mbc.E20-09-0609


  • First author Myoung Soo Choi and the Crawley Lab publication in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, “The small EF-hand protein CALML4 functions as a critical myosin light chain within the intermicrovillar adhesion complex” (July 2020). https://bit.ly/36J9jOX The cover image for this JBC issue was chosen from this article submission and the article was chosen as an Editors’ Picks in this issue which represent the top-rated papers published in JBC across the field of biological chemistry! This article was also recently selected to be in a special issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry focusing on the eukaryotic #cytoskeleton. Articles chosen for this special issue best represented the exciting advances in this field! https://bit.ly/2SDReJS

  • Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss received a three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), grant award in the amount of $500,000 for a project being conducted in collaboration with Bo Harstine, director of research, Select Sires Inc. Brief project objective: “The long-term goal of this project is to provide new methods for understanding and, consequently, for improving cattle fertility via the identification of centriolar biomarkers associated with reproductive efficiency. The project outcomes are the production of tools and methods for selecting sires for improved productivity, which will promote sustainable dairy production in the U.S.”. – Dr. Avidor-Reiss.

  • Dr. Zahoor Shah was awarded a five-year, $1.95 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop new therapeutics that could prevent secondary injuries for those who suffer a hemorrhagic stroke as the neurological damage can continue well after the bleeding stops.

  • Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata et al. received an award from The American Society for Cell Biology 2020 Public Engagement Grant Award of $33,396 for use in conjunction with the University of Toledo SCOPE Program. The SCOPE Program at The University of Toledo allows students to access state-of-the-art microscopes via the internet. The team works with middle and high school students and homeschoolers to remotely control an electron confocal microscope located at the University of Toledo.

  • Dr. Malathi Krishnamurthy Lab received a grant award by the USDA Agricultural Research Service for the project, "Reducing Impacts of Disease on Rainbow Trout Aquaculture Production”. This is a five-year grant for The University of Toledo with funding of $287,791 per year! Research project objective: “Rainbow trout are an important recreational and food fish species in the U.S., and it is thus important to improve disease resistance and improve methods for combatting outbreaks of disease to increase production and profitability of U.S. aquaculture.”

  • Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata and research lab team received funding for their study proposal, "Regulation of epithelial junctions and lumen morphogenesis by the Scribble/SGEF/Dlg1 complex". The Garcia-Mata Lab was awarded R01 grant funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Institute of Health for project funding of $465,198 per year for four years ... totaling $1,350,000!

  • Dr. Malathi Krishnamurthy and team published a research article in the Journal of Virology, which shows how cells in our body use a unique platform that is normally made during stress to combat virus infection. These new targets have potential to lead to new drug therapies to prevent serious damage to human health by harmful viruses. (Full research article: https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00205-20) "In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this is a promising avenue to protect people by enhancing immune response and stop the spread of deadly viral infections," Dr. Krishnamurthy said. "There is an urgent need to identify new drugs and new drug targets." The University of Toledo Press Release: https://bit.ly/3bo8bis

  • Dr. Timothey Mueser's lab is one of only a handful of groups in the U.S. working on neutron #crystallography grown aboard the International Space Station. They’ve sent experiments on three prior space flights and regularly collaborate with Oak Ridge National Lab and Institut Laue-Langevin, a leading nuclear research facility in Grenoble, France. Victoria Drago, who completed an undergraduate degree in #biochemistry at The University of Toledo returned to pursue her doctorate specifically to work in Mueser’s lab. The decision has afforded her unique opportunities, including being present for the launch of two #SpaceX rockets that carried their experiments to the #InternationalSpaceStation and working closely with national and international laboratories. “I’ve got to experience a lot because of coming here. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, and I wouldn’t have the connections I have if I was anywhere else,” Drago said.

  • Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss and grad student Katerina Turner published the article, “Male Infertility is a Women’s Health Issue—Research and Clinical Evaluation of Male Infertility Is Needed”, in the journal Cells which highlights the disparity in infertility treatment between men and women. It combines medicine, biology and equality between the sexes. "Infertility is a devastating experience for both partners as they try to conceive. Historically, when a couple could not conceive, the woman has carried the stigma of infertility; however, men and women are just as likely to contribute to the couple’s infertility." Read the full article: https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040990

  • Dr. Song-Tao Liu, Sreemita Majumdar (Ph.D. student) and the Liu Lab received a 3-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) /NCI grant award of $468,255 for the collaborative project “Understanding and Targeting MELK Overexpression in Breast Cancer Cells.” The team will be looking to provide urgently needed information to assess the relevance of MELK, an enzyme, and MELK inhibitors in cancer treatment. The project will be collaborated with Dr. Saori Furuta in the Dept. of Cancer Biology and Dr. Jason Sheltzer, Cold Harbor Spring Laboratory.



Last Updated: 8/3/22