Research

Research

The department has committed itself to providing fully equipped labs that support a diverse range of research. Biology department researchers have access to state of the art Core Laboratories with instrumentation for imaging facility, flow cytometry, animal facilities, and computational resources. For more information on research facilities at the BC Biology department please visit the Core Laboratory Facilities page.

Research Specialties


Image Credit: Torrey Mandigo, Folker Lab and Bret Judson, Higgins Imaging Facility muscle from a Drosophila model for Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy stained F-action (blue), Tubulin (green), and nuclei (pink).

Image Credit: Torrey Mandigo, Folker Lab and Bret Judson, Higgins Imaging Facility muscle from a
Drosophila model for Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy stained F-action (blue), Tubulin (green), and
nuclei (pink).

Our department explores a range of areas within cell and developmental biology. Please see below for details.

Anthony Annunziato
Molecular biology; Chromatin assembly and histone modifications in mammalian cells and fission yeast

David Burgess
Cytokinesis, polarization of the cytoskeleton

Eric Folker
Cellular Organization.  Mechanisms of nuclear movement and the role of nuclear movement in muscle development and disease pathogenesis.

Marc-Jan Gubbels
Host cell invasion is at the heart of apicomplexan parasite pathogenesis. We use Toxoplasma gondii as a genetically tractable model to dissect this process. In addition we are analyzing the internal budding of daughter parasites during T. gondii cell division. Identification of key players in processes unique to the biology of Apicomplexa (invasion and division) is the first step towards development of more effective therapeutic options.

Dan Kirschner
Structural analysis of amyloids and myelin sheaths

Laura Anne Lowery
Cytoskeletal dynamics during cell migration, axon outgrowth, development of the nervous system

Sarah McMenamin
Zebra fish, post-embryonic coordination, thyroid hormone, craniofacial development; Ecology and Evolution

Thomas Seyfried
Gene-environmental interactions in epilepsy and brain cancer

Ken Williams
Central nervous system macrophages, neuroAIDS, AIDS pathogenesis, monocyte/macrophage biology

Image Credit: Figure of a spatial environment favoring heterotypic cooperation over cheating, taken from "Spatial self-organization favors heterotypic cooperation over cheating" by Dr. Babak Momeni

Image Credit: Figure of a spatial environment favoring heterotypic cooperation over cheating, taken
from "Spatial self-organization favors heterotypic cooperation over cheating" by Dr. Babak Momeni

Computational Biology, a multidisciplinary research field that integrates Mathematics and Biology, is driven by newly emergent technologies. Areas of concentration at Boston College include genetics/genomics, systems biology, synthetic biology, and RNA structure/function.

Peter Clote, Ph.D.
Algorithm design and implementation in areas such as protein folding on lattice models, computing the energy spectrum of RNA, time warping application to functional genomics, Boltzmann probability in sequence alignments, motif detection using generalized weight matrices, neural nets, support vector machines, etc. In addition, this is the fourth year in which Prof. Clote is co-organizer of the weekly M.I.T. Bioinformatics Seminar.

Michelle Meyer, Ph.D.
Computational biology, non-coding RNA discovery and validation, molecular evolution, RNA and protein structure.

Babak Momeni, Ph.D.
Systems biology of microbial communities; mathematical modeling of biological systems; microbial ecology.

Tim van Opijnen, Ph.D.
Microbial Systems Biology; drug/gene interaction networks and the development of new antimicrobials, the development of genome-wide next generation sequencing strategies to link genotypes to phenotypes, and the engineering of bacteria with new traits and novel applicability.

Image Credit: Williams Lab - SIV-infected macrophages comprise lesions in the frontal cortex of an SIV-infected rhesus macaque that developed AIDS with SIV-associated encephalitis.

Image Credit: Williams Lab - SIV-infected macrophages comprise lesions in the frontal
cortex of an SIV-infected rhesus macaque that developed AIDS with SIV-associated
encephalitis.

Work in Microbiology and Infectious Disease in the department spans a variety of experimental systems, including virus-host interactions, bacterial genetics and microbial systems, cellular parasitology and fungal genetics.

Thomas Chiles, Ph.D.
Investigations into the metabolic pathways and signaling transduction underlying B cell growth responses to antigen challenge. Cell cycle control of peritoneal B-1a cells, including hyperproliferative responses.

Marc-Jan Gubbels, Ph.D.
Host cell invasion is at the heart of apicomplexan parasite pathogenesis. We use Toxoplasma gondii as a genetically tractable model to dissect this process. In addition we are analyzing the internal budding of daughter parasites during T. gondii cell division. Identification of key players in processes unique to the biology of Apicomplexa (invasion and division) is the first step towards development of more effective therapeutic options.

Charles Hoffman, Ph.D.
Investigations into fungal glucose/cAMP signaling using the genetically pliable fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.This nutrient sensing pathway is homologous to those of fungal pathogens that regulate dimorphic growth and host tissue invasion in response to their nutrient environment.

Welkin Johnson, Ph.D.
Retroviruses; Primate lentiviruses (HIV and SIV); Co-evolution of viruses and their hosts

Michelle Meyer, Ph.D.
Computational biology, non-coding RNA discovery and validation, molecular evolution, RNA and protein structure

Babak Momeni, Ph.D.
Systems biology of microbial communities; mathematical modeling of biological systems; microbial ecology

Tim van Opijnen, Ph.D.
Microbial Systems Biology; drug/gene interaction networks and the development of new antimicrobials, the development of genome-wide next generation sequencing strategies to link genotypes to phenotypes, and the engineering of bacteria with new traits and novel applicability.

Kenneth Williams, Ph.D.
Central nervous system macrophages, neuroAIDS, AIDS pathogenesis, monocyte/macrophage biology.