University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

DEPARTMENT OF Molecular Physiology & Biophysics ~ 2013 Annual Report

David Warshaw, Ph.D.’79, Chair

The Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics continues to garner international recognition and success in the areas of cardiovascular research, cell division, and protein structure and function. A common research focus is directed at understanding the molecular basis of cellular movement, whether associated with cell division or muscle contraction. By studying genetic alterations in cellular movement, special emphasis is directed at defining normal and diseased contractile function of the heart, blood vessels, and processes associated with cell division, e.g. chromosome segregation during mitosis.

The Department is considered the premier center of muscle and non-muscle cell motility research in the United States. An additional research focus is on protein molecular structure, with expertise in high-resolution 3-dimensional electron microscopy.

The Department faculty is involved with two highly prestigious National Institutes of Health Program Project Grants to study genetic forms of heart failure and aortic aneurysms. These multi-investigator grants serve as the foundation for collaborative efforts within the Department and across institutions (Johns Hopkins, UMass, Univ. of Cincinnati, UTSouthwestern, and UPenn). Yusuf Ali, Ph.D., received an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant. During this fiscally challenging time, the Department continues to compete effectively for limited extramural funds, with all tenure-track faculty being funded. Faculty have been honored as invited speakers at prestigious international meetings including Jason Stumpff, Ph.D., who was an invited to the Dynamic Kinetochore Workshop in Porto, Portugal. David Warshaw, Ph.D., spoke at the Forces in Biology conference in Dublin, Ireland. Teresa Ruiz, Ph.D., was honored for her expertise in structural biology by chairing the Microscopy Society’s Microscopy & Microanalysis 2013 Meeting in Indianapolis, Ind., while Dr. Ruiz, Michael Radermacher, Ph.D., and Matthew Lord, Ph.D., organized symposia at the Microscopy & Microanalysis 2013 Meeting as well. Both Drs. Ruiz and Radermacher organized a workshop and taught at the Microscopical Society of America meetings in Phoenix, Ariz. and Indianapolis, Ind. Faculty members play key service roles on review panels for the NIH and National Science Foundation. A very prestigious honor bestowed on Dr. Radermacher was his being named a Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America.

In education, faculty contribute substantially to both medical and graduate programs and have been nominated for teaching awards in the medical school curriculum. Christopher Berger, Ph.D., serves as director of graduate education for the College of Medicine and was instrumental in the successful launch of the new umbrella program in Cell, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences.

Last modified December 20 2013 11:47 AM