The Department garners 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 it is processes 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 electronmicroscopy.
The department faculty is involved with two highly prestigious NIH 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. Cincinnati, UTSouthwestern, and UPenn).
In the past year, the faculty published over 30 articles in prestigious journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Journal of Cell Biology, and Molecular Cell as well as serving on Editorial Boards for several journals.