University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

DEPARTMENT OF Biochemistry ~ 2013 Annual Report

Gary Stein, Ph.D., Chair

The Department of Biochemistry has made valued and recognized contributions that are aligned with the shared complementary visions of the College of Medicine, the University and Fletcher Allen Health Care in biomedical research, education and service.

The Biochemistry faculty embrace a culture of transdisciplinary collaborations that transcend traditional boundaries in undergraduate, graduate and medical teaching and in pursuit of research through collaborative team approaches that combine biochemical, molecular, cellular, in vivo genetic, epigenetic, genomic, proteomic and bioinformatic strategies. Emphasis is on pursuit of regulatory mechanisms in the context of applications through translation to resolution of clinically relevant problems. Engagement in service and outreach to the university, the community and beyond is a priority for the Biochemistry faculty, students and staff.

Increased and expanded capabilities through recruitment of well-credentialed faculty, students and postdoctoral/clinical fellows has positioned the Department of Biochemistry to make transformative advances in the biology and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Partnerships of our Biochemistry scientists with physician investigators have identified molecular defects in cancer cells that provide a roadmap for: identifying regulatory pathways that govern cell cycle control to selectively target tumors; inhibiting tumor vascularization as a pivotal strategy to contain tumors; preventing breast and prostate cancer metastasis to bone; discovering non-coding RNAs that are obligatory for the onset and progression of cancer and establishing epigenetic signatures for risk assessment and treatment of solid tumors and leukemias. Equally relevant, our prominent coagulation/ cardiovascular investigators have made pivotal discoveries in regulatory pathways that are critical for the biology and pathology of clotting.

The Biochemistry Department commitment to education is reflected by the leadership of Paula Tracy, Ph.D., as Foundations Director for Medical Education and Stephen Everse, Ph.D.’s responsibilities as Director for the Cellular and Molecular Biology component of the first year medical school curriculum. Janet Stein, Ph.D., has been instrumental in oversight of the new Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program. Christopher Francklyn, Ph.D., partnered with Alan Howe, Ph.D. (of the Department of Pharmacology), to develop a cancer biology course that engaged basic science and clinical faculty as lecturers, attracting undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students from both the College of Medicine and the University. Distinction in biomedical research is reflected by high-impact peer-reviewed research papers that were published in the past year; extramural funding for research programs from NIH and the private sector; invited presentations at major national and international meetings and recognition for excellence in mentorship.

Last modified January 02 2014 10:40 AM