Dr. Serban's research interests on Health Analytics span various dimensions including large-scale data representation with a focus on processing patient-level health information into data features dictated by various considerations, such as data-generation process and data sparsity; machine learning and statistical modeling to acquire knowledge from a compilation of health-related datasets with a focus on geographic and temporal variations; and integration of statistical estimates into informed decision making in healthcare delivery and into managing the complexity of the healthcare system.
Research in our laboratory focuses on a class of intracellular ion channels know as ryanodine receptors (RyRs). In mammals, there are three RyR isoforms. RyR1 and RyR2 are the predominate isoforms in skeletal and cardiac muscle, respectively where they are the primary efflux pathway for the release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum to activate contraction. RyR3 has a wide tissue distribution and contributes to calcium regulation in a variety of cell types. RyRs are the largest known ion channel and are regulated by a multitude of endogenous effectors, including ions, metabolites and regulatory proteins. Therefore, an area of interest is the regulation of these RyR channels by endogenous effectors; especially as it relates to altered contractile function associated with cardiac and skeletal disease, skeletal muscle fatigue and aging. We analyze channel function on multiples levels of organization. Sarcoplasmic reticulum vesicle [3H]ryanodine binding is used to examine large populations of channels. Individual channels are incorporated into artificial lipid bilayers in order to record single channel currents and assess channel kinetics. Calcium release from permeabilized muscle fibers provides a method of examining RyR function in situ. My research has two long-range goals. The first is to understand how intracellular calcium is regulated and how alterations in the regulation effects cell function. The second goal is to understand the RyR regulatory sites that could potentially be exploited for the development of pharmacological compounds to treat disorders of cellular calcium regulation.
Modelling and controlling metabolic dynamics and regulation (metabolic engineering)
Systems biology-based experimental and bioinformatics analysis of metabolism
Synthetic biology for the development of biosensors and diagnostics
The main focus of the Styczynski group is the experimental and computational study of the dynamics and regulation of metabolism, with ultimate applications in metabolic engineering, biotechnology, and biosensors/diagnostics.
I am interested in understanding (i) how transcription factors find their targets on DNA and activate transcription despite the presence of nucleosomes and (ii) how structural details of trans-activators and cis-elements quantitatively fine-tune gene regulation at the cellular level.
The Harold Kim Lab is an experimental biophysics group studying the biophysics of the genome in the School of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. A meter-long DNA is tightly packaged into chromosomes inside a micron-wide nucleus of a cell. Therefore, the genetic information is difficult to locate and process. Despite this formidable challenge, cells constantly convert the genetic code into appropriate amounts of proteins in a timely manner based on external signals. This interesting phenomenon is at the core of our research.
Dr. Jang's research interest is to characterize and design nanoscale systems based on the molecular architecture-property relationship using computations and theories, which are especially relevant to designing new biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering. Currently, he is focusing on 1) NanoBio-mechanics for DNA, lipid bilayer, and hydrogel systems; 2) Molecular interaction of Alzheimer proteins with various small molecules. Dr. Jang is also interested in various topics such as nanoelectronics, nanostructured energy technologies for fuel cell, battery and photovoltaic devices.
Our laboratory has diverse research interests including: evolutionary synthetic biology, molecular biology, comparative genomics, computational biology, bioinformatics, biomedicine, molecular evolution and origins of life, and evolution and engineering of protein thermostability.
Engineering Nuclear Hormone Receptors. Nuclear hormone receptors control the expression of genes in response to small molecule hormones. In performing this activity, the receptors must specifically recognize small molecules, DNA, and other proteins. The amino acids that recognize each of these substrates are varied using genetic engineering techniques until a receptor with novel recognition is created. The original and new receptors are studied using a variety of biophysical techniques to elucidate the principles behind the new activity. This exercise provides both new knowledge for future protein engineering and real materials for research and medical applications.
We engineer new receptors to turn on gene expression in response to specifically chosen small molecules. The small molecule may be chosen for its properties in the specific application. For applications in gene therapy and use as a tailored gene switch, the small molecule may be chosen due to its long or short pharmacokinetic half-life, because it crosses the blood-brain barrier, or other tissue specificity. For applications in synthetic biology gene circuits, the small molecule may be chosen for its interactions with other circuits in a network. Another application is in assembling the biosynthetic components (enzymes) to synthesize the small molecule via genetic selection.
Dr. Kim’s research focuses on developing biomimetic microsystems that reconstitute organ-level functions on chip and integrative control systems that allow large-scale production of therapeutic and diagnostic bio/nanomaterials. His lab develops experimental control systems and micro/millifluidic platforms, and employs computer-aided engineering to understand: (1) how cells coordinate responses to signaling cues in multicellular environments; (2) how bio/nanomaterials assemble and break in dynamically controlled fluid flows; and (3) how biological systems interact with nanomaterials with varied physicochemical properties.
Organs-on-chips that mimic the characteristics of human organs are enabling scientists to predict more accurately how effective therapeutic drug candidates would be in clinical studies without serious adverse effects and to address how multiple cells coordinate organizational decisions in response to complicated signaling cascades. Dr. Kim’s lab builds valid artificial organ-on-a-chip systems by manipulating 3D extracellular environments in time and space, utilizing the expertise in microfabrication, miniaturization, robotics, and control systems engineering, and understanding the human body’s fundamental physiological responses to mechanochemical cues. This research will help examine the behavior and interaction of multifunctional nanomaterials with biologically relevant microenvironments for rapid clinical translation of nanomedicine, thereby bringing drugs to market more quickly and perhaps even eliminate the need for animal testing.
Advanced treatment of diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis needs controlled delivery of multifunctional nanocarriers that contain multiple drugs that can target tumors with anti-angiogenic and cytostatic agents and a diversity of imaging agents that monitor the transport in the body. Optimized integration of manufacturing nanomaterials will contribute to advanced health technology not only because of rapid clinical translation of drugs but also due to reduction of any release of harmful byproducts. Dr. Kim’s lab designs and fabricates diverse microfluidic modules for diverse syntheses of multifunctional nanomaterials and integrates the modules to establish large-scale implementation of manufacturing processes scaled to economically and industrially relevant production level. The integrative system will facilitate good manufacturing practice (GMP) production and clinical translation in pharmaceutical and biomedical industry and enable reproducible and controlled synthesis of nanoparticles at scales suitable for rapid clinical development and commercialization.