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Faculty mentors will work with students in all phases of the preparation of student research proposals, the conduct of research and the dissemination of the results of the research. Mentors will collaborate with students to develop outlines of proposed research, spend time with the student during the preparation of the formal research proposal and application, include the student in the process of developing a budget, help the student write a formal report for abstract submission and ensure the student submits the abstract for the annual KCU Research Symposium.
Students must contact the faculty member to indicate an interest in a summer research fellowship. Faculty mentors must sign a fellowship agreement letter accepting the student to apply for the research fellowship.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry
Research Interests: Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative DiseasesIdentification of a sensitive and reliable peripheral blood biomarker(s) that are needed for early diagnose and prognosis of neurodegenerative disease(s). Proof of concept for commercialization of IP directed at platelet biomarker in Alzheimer’s disease.Pathogenic Mechanisms in ALSDr. Agbas’s team is exploring the relationship with abnormally phosphorylated forms of TDP-43, elevated levels of Zinc and gene mutations (SOD) that cause the aggregation of TDP-43 and cell death. He is collaborating with scientists from the College of Veterinary Medicine at University of Missouri-Columbia to explore novel mechanisms of motor neuron death in a genetic form of ALS in dogs termed canine degenerative myelopathy (DM).
Associate Professor of Pharmacology/Microbiology
Research Interests: Angiogenesis and Cardiovascular Complications of Anticancer TherapyUtilizing animal models and cell culture Dr. Konorev’s research is focused on the prevention of cardiac remodeling and progression of heart failure resulting from cancer chemotherapeutics. His team has made important contributions to the field of angiogenesis, or the process of formation of new vascular networks in postnatal tissues. He has identified targets for the antiangiogenic effect of doxorubicin and therapeutics to alleviate the antiangiogenic effects.
Professor and Chair of Biochemistry
Research Interests: Structure and Function of GAPDHGlyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) is a glycolytic enzyme that possesses diverse functions that are independent of its role in glycolysis. Dr. Seidler is particularly interested in its role in learning and memory. The general decline of GAPDH associated with neuronal function with aging, stochastic chemical and post-translational modifications change with aging suggest an important role of GAPDH function with neuronal systems associated with learning and memory. Dr. Seidler is leading a group of faculty utilizing zebra fish as models for neurodegenerative disorders.
Associate Dean of the College of Biosciences, Professor of Biochemistry
Research Interests: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)Identified transgene (Tg) therapy for treatment of mouse model of DMD implicating human tissue-specific retinal dystrophin isoform as novel therapeutic strategy to treat DMD patients. His team is exploring novel pharmacologic targets to induce the activity of the retinal dystrophin promoter in muscles of DMD patients.Anemia and Iron Overload Hematologic DisordersWhile GATA1 is considered essential for red blood cell production, Xpna mutant mice (X-linked pre-neonatal anemia) recovers from anemia indicating transcription factor may compensate for the absence of GATA 1. Dr. White’s team is using a variety of strategies to identify the unknown transcription factor.
Associate Professor of Anatomy
Research Interests: Comparative Anatomy and BehaviorPrimate Craniofacial Adaptation to food mechanics. His research examines the various interactions among human and non-human primate food mechanics behavior, and morphological and physiological adaptations, particularly craniofacial. These tools and techniques include, but are not limited to: detailed in-field observations of feeding, in field tests of food mechanical properties combined with laboratory measures of force transduction using high fidelity 3D imaging and force measurement. His research incorporates a wide range of tools and techniques the use of which can prove beneficial to evolutionary biologists and clinicians.
Research Interests: Comparative Anatomy and BehaviorRelationships among morphological, behavioral and physiological adaptations in wild primates. NSF funded research to study how diet drives behavior of primates, which in turn drives changes in morphology. Uses detailed in-field observations of positional behavior during foraging; in-field kinematic analysis and laboratory based 3D imaging and other morphometric approaches.
Professor of Biochemistry
Research Interests: Parkinson’s Disease and Dopamine Neuronal DeathDr. Zaidi has identified that the plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase (PMCA) plays a critical role in DA neuron degeneration in PD. Utilizing human postmortem tissue, cell culture and mouse models of PD, she has shown that aging and exposure to neurotoxins lowers endogenous levels/activity of the PMCA 2 in the substantia nigra, and the inactivation of this calcium transporting enzyme causes selective cell death of dopaminergic neurons in PD. This work is focused in translational research as it defines potential sites for pathological failure and therapeutic intervention in PD.
Her research interests focus on the role of skeletal muscle in neuromuscular disease and how the crosstalk between muscle, neurons and other organs contributes to the progression of neuromuscular diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Her team developed novel molecular tools and animal models to define the role of Ca2+ signaling and mitochondrial function in health and diseases. The mechanisms controlling this signaling represent critical points at which many cellular phenomena can be modulated. This work is clinically important because it defines potential sites for pathological failure and therapeutic intervention.
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