School of Dentistry

Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training Program


Research Areas

Research Areas

In the MinnCResT Program, the mentor faculty members are assembled into research training areas (RTAs) to highlight disciplinary and interdisciplinary research strengths and training opportunities. The RTAs reflect current research activities of interest and are independent of departmental or graduate faculty affiliations; some mentors are members of more than one RTA. Mentors in the RTAs are also members of graduate faculties, which offer degree programs. MinnCResT Program fellows can take PhD degrees in one of 30 disciplines, including Oral Biology.

Research Areas
  • Neuroscience

    The neuroscience mentors have a wide range of interests and expertise, studying the structure, function, and development of the nervous system in health and disease. Many different experimental approaches are in use. Mentors in this RTA work in areas as diverse as the neurobiology of addictive diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, endocrine and autonomic regulation, ion channels, motor control, neurodegenerative diseases and regeneration, neurogenetics, neuroimaging, and pain.

    Neuroscience information

  • Microbiology and Immunology

    Mentors in the Microbiology and Immunology Group research training opportunities in the genetic engineering of microorganisms for biotechnology, viral, fungal, and bacterial pathogenesis, and environmental sensing and development in microbes, as well as lymphocyte activation and development, transplantation immunology, innate, adaptive and autoimmunity, and the mucosal immune system. Much of the more fundamental work in this RTA complements activities in the Cancer Biology RTA (see below).

    Microbiology and Immunology information

  • Cancer Biology

    Mentors in this group study cell biology and metastasis, biochemical signaling pathways, cancer genetics, and tumor immunology. Mentors also focus on the development of new cancer therapies, including developing new inhibitors of angiogenesis, improving immune-based therapies, and studying novel compounds that can inhibit growth and/or survival of malignant tumors. Our Cancer Biology RTA complements activities in the Microbiology and Immunology RTA.

    Cancer Biology information

  • Developmental Biology, Molecular Genetics and Stem Cells

    Mentor laboratories in this group perform experiments using most major model organisms, including mice, zebrafish, frogs, chickens, flies, and worms. Mentors in this area include those interested in craniofacial development, endothelial cells and vascular development, cell signaling, transposons, T cell biology, cancer and development, gene therapy, and stem cell biology. Collaboration with the Department of Pediatrics, the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies clinic, and the Institute of Human Genetics extends this connection for the direct study of the genetic basis of human developmental defects. This large community of scientists crosses departmental boundaries and campuses, and is connected internally through the Developmental Biology Center. Several mentors in this training area are affiliated with the University’s Stem Cell Institute, which was established in 1999 as the world’s first interdisciplinary institute dedicated to stem cell research. These mentors study how stem cells can be used to treat human diseases, including diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

    Developmental Biology, Molecular Genetics and Stem Cells information

  • Genomics, Proteomics, Structural Biology, Computational Biology

    Mentors in this RTA work in microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering, and laboratory medicine/pathology, and use biophysical and computational approaches to foster research in microbial pathogenomics, obesity and insulin action, RNA-protein interactions, membrane and membrane-binding proteins, coagulation, enzymology, protein engineering, vaccine development/delivery, cancer biology, protein and peptide chemistry, cell adhesion, and bioinformatics. This RTA also includes mentors working in biophysical sciences, including molecular biophysics, medical imaging, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, radiobiology, radiation physics, and mathematical biophysics and computation.

    Genomics, Proteomics, Structural Biology, Computational Biology information

  • Nanotechnology and Material Science/Tissue Engineering

    Mentors in this RTA come from the fields of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, and medicinal chemistry, and study electronic circuitry, advanced light sources, nanoparticle generation in plasmas, particle technology, polymer chemistry, nanofabrication of integrated circuits, drug design and delivery, biomedical sensors, microelectronics, biomaterials, cell adhesion molecules, cell motility and adhesion receptor function, tissue remodeling and artificial tissues, tissue preservation, extracellular matrix specificity, biomedical microsystems and devices, and biomedical imaging. The University is a national leader in nanotechnology, and among the first institutions nationwide to promote collaborative research in nanotechnology by bringing together faculty from diverse disciplines. In 2004, the University established the Nanotechnology Coordinating Office to support interdisciplinary collaborations in nanotechnology research and to promote communication about nanotechnology both within the University and to the business community. The nanotechnology research community at the University is very active, supported in part by short courses, workshops, and laboratories providing specialized support services. In 2006, the trade publication Small Times ranked the University second among U.S. universities in industrial outreach in nanotechnology and microtechnology and ninth in nanotechnology research.

    Nanotechnology and Material Science/Tissue Engineering information

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  • Last modified on August 27, 2012