Search

Research In Motion

Learn More About Our Researchers

In our new School of Medicine Research in Motion video series, we asked our researchers three questions: What do you do? What do you love about your research? How will it impact human health?

We’re excited to share their answers in weekly 1 to 2-minute videos. We hope you’ll enjoy watching them as we celebrate all the compelling and inspiring work by our School of Medicine researchers.

Amy Mathers, MD, Associate Professor 
Division of Infectious Diseases & International Health 
UVA Department of Medicine

Transcript:
The thing I love the most about my research is the idea that I get to discover new things, and that allows me to see the world in a different way. For example, when we discover that drug resistant pathogens we're living in, hospital drains. It allowed me to look at drains and sinks differently, and I continue to try to problem solve as I look at drains and sinks to come up with better interventions to prevent them from getting to patients.

My name is Amy Mathers, and I am in both the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pathology and the School of Medicine. I am an infectious disease physician who focuses on antibiotic resistant bacteria. My research focuses on, how antibiotic resistance genes move between bacteria and how we detect them in the clinical micro lab, as well as how we detect them in the hospital, and try to eliminate transmission of drug resistant pathogens to and from patients.

With antibiotic resistant bacterial infections estimated to be the third leading cause of global deaths. It's going to be important to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, as well as understand the places where antibiotic resistant bacteria are emerging. Unfortunately, there has not been a large amount of drug development or new antibiotic discovery, and therefore we're going to have to protect the antibiotics that we have so that they can be used for future generations.

Amy Mathers, MD, Associate Professor
Division of Infectious Diseases & International Health
UVA Department of Medicine

Transcript:
The thing I love the most about my research is the idea that I get to discover new things, and that allows me to see the world in a different way. For example, when we discover that drug resistant pathogens we're living in, hospital drains. It allowed me to look at drains and sinks differently, and I continue to try to problem solve as I look at drains and sinks to come up with better interventions to prevent them from getting to patients.

My name is Amy Mathers, and I am in both the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pathology and the School of Medicine. I am an infectious disease physician who focuses on antibiotic resistant bacteria. My research focuses on, how antibiotic resistance genes move between bacteria and how we detect them in the clinical micro lab, as well as how we detect them in the hospital, and try to eliminate transmission of drug resistant pathogens to and from patients.

With antibiotic resistant bacterial infections estimated to be the third leading cause of global deaths. It's going to be important to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, as well as understand the places where antibiotic resistant bacteria are emerging. Unfortunately, there has not been a large amount of drug development or new antibiotic discovery, and therefore we're going to have to protect the antibiotics that we have so that they can be used for future generations.

YouTube Video UExNN0UyT2ZDUHBmcVhISElkQ19zLU9fb0xxWXNzRzVVXy5DNTU3ODQ4ODAzMjFERTI1

Amy Mathers, MD discusses how important it is to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Douglas Bayliss, PhD, discusses chemical and electrical signals used by the brain to drive breathing

Anita Clayton, MD, discusses developing treatments for major depressive disorders

Roger Anderson, PhD - reducing and eliminating social disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes

Anne Kenworthy, PhD discusses how proteins found at the surface of cells contribute to cell function

Joanne Pinkerton, MD, discusses how exciting it is to be advancing the field of women's health.

Jianjie Ma, PhD, discusses a novel monoclonal antibody that enhances healing of diabetic wounds.

Brant Isakson, PhD, discusses microcirculation and blood vessels the width of one of your hairs.

Karen Johnston, MD, helping researchers translate innovative ideas into actual treatments and cures.

Ahmad Jomaa, PhD, discusses mitochondria as a cell stress sensor and its effects on a cell's cycle.

Hongji Zhang, PhD witnessing the transformation of scientific discoveries into practical application

Michael E Williams, MD, Minimizing the traditional use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Bon Q. Trinh, PhD, discusses bimolecular interplay in the control of 3D chromatin architecture

Kari Ring, MD, shares her insights on the world of cancer genetics.

Jinghang Xie, PhD, shares his innovative imaging research in the field of translational medicine.

Jeff Martens, PhD
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Senior Associate Dean of Research in the School of Medicine

Transcript:
So what excites me most about science is the process of discovery and the hope that it brings for improving human health. 

My name is Jeff Martens and I'm a professor of pharmacology and also senior associate dean of research in the School of Medicine. My laboratory studies olfaction, which is our sense of smell. Specifically, we're interested in a unique population of neurons in the nose that connect to our brain, but are also unique in that they're exposed to the external environment.

Now, these neurons are necessary for our ability to detect chemicals in the air when we breathe in, when these neurons don't function properly. We are unable to smell.

Unfortunately, there are no curative therapies for olfactory loss. My laboratory has championed the use of gene therapy to provide hope to those patients who can't smell. So gene therapy means taking a lost gene or a defective gene and replacing it with a normal, healthy copy into these olfactory neurons. The Manny Institute, catalyzed by a gift from Paul and Diane Manning, is going to be a state of the art center to bring together novel biological therapies.

This will help our research by bringing together not only the expertise but also the technologies into a single location that will help to move our discoveries made at the bench to the bedside to better patients.

Jeff Martens, PhD
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Senior Associate Dean of Research in the School of Medicine

Transcript:
So what excites me most about science is the process of discovery and the hope that it brings for improving human health.

My name is Jeff Martens and I'm a professor of pharmacology and also senior associate dean of research in the School of Medicine. My laboratory studies olfaction, which is our sense of smell. Specifically, we're interested in a unique population of neurons in the nose that connect to our brain, but are also unique in that they're exposed to the external environment.

Now, these neurons are necessary for our ability to detect chemicals in the air when we breathe in, when these neurons don't function properly. We are unable to smell.

Unfortunately, there are no curative therapies for olfactory loss. My laboratory has championed the use of gene therapy to provide hope to those patients who can't smell. So gene therapy means taking a lost gene or a defective gene and replacing it with a normal, healthy copy into these olfactory neurons. The Manny Institute, catalyzed by a gift from Paul and Diane Manning, is going to be a state of the art center to bring together novel biological therapies.

This will help our research by bringing together not only the expertise but also the technologies into a single location that will help to move our discoveries made at the bench to the bedside to better patients.

1 0

YouTube Video UExNN0UyT2ZDUHBmcVhISElkQ19zLU9fb0xxWXNzRzVVXy5ENEEyOTIwNkY4NzFGMkQ2

Jeff Martens, PhD discusses our sense of smell and how neurons in the nose connect to our brains.

What I love about my research is that it's at the intersection of basic science discovery and clinically impactful research. So what I do is called translational research. That means the ultimate goal is to translate our insights in the lab into therapeutics that are meaningful and translational be relevant for patients. 

My name is Kristen Anderson and I'm an assistant professor in the Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology Department, and I'm jointly appointed in obstetrics and gynecology.

My research is focused on modifying immune cells, specifically T cells, to recognize and kill cancer more effectively. Solid tumors like ovarian and pancreatic cancer present additional obstacles that we need to overcome for this therapy to work. So what my group does is we identify those obstacles and then we come up with creative engineering approaches to overcome them and translate that into a therapeutic for the clinic.

The goal is to bring the tools we build in the lab into the clinic for patients. The Manning Institute for Biotechnology is going to support this kind of research extensively. It's going to provide us with access to new technologies and state of the art equipment colleagues and collaborators with diverse expertise. So we can do interdisciplinary studies. And biotechnology and pharmaceutical colleagues who can help us rapidly translate our tools into the clinic.

Ultimately, we're going to be surrounded by colleagues with the same shared goal bringing immunotherapies to UVA patients as well as all around the globe.

What I love about my research is that it's at the intersection of basic science discovery and clinically impactful research. So what I do is called translational research. That means the ultimate goal is to translate our insights in the lab into therapeutics that are meaningful and translational be relevant for patients. My name is Kristen Anderson and I'm an assistant professor in the Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology Department, and I'm jointly appointed in obstetrics and gynecology.

My research is focused on modifying immune cells, specifically T cells, to recognize and kill cancer more effectively. Solid tumors like ovarian and pancreatic cancer present additional obstacles that we need to overcome for this therapy to work. So what my group does is we identify those obstacles and then we come up with creative engineering approaches to overcome them and translate that into a therapeutic for the clinic.

The goal is to bring the tools we build in the lab into the clinic for patients. The Manning Institute for Biotechnology is going to support this kind of research extensively. It's going to provide us with access to new technologies and state of the art equipment colleagues and collaborators with diverse expertise. So we can do interdisciplinary studies. And biotechnology and pharmaceutical colleagues who can help us rapidly translate our tools into the clinic.

Ultimately, we're going to be surrounded by colleagues with the same shared goal bringing immunotherapies to UVA patients as well as all around the globe.

1 0

YouTube Video UExNN0UyT2ZDUHBmcVhISElkQ19zLU9fb0xxWXNzRzVVXy5BRUVCN0E0MzEwQzAwNjMy

Kristin Anderson, PhD discusses translating insights in the lab into meaningful patient therapeutics

Learn more about Edward Horng-An Nieh’s, PhD, journey to understand neuropsychiatric disorders.

George Christ, PhD
Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopedic Surgery


Transcript:
I do what you would refer to as translational research. That means everything from basic science to clinical applications. And for me personally, that means every single day I'm doing something different, learning something new. And the group of people that you have to assemble to do that is diverse, incredibly talented, brilliant and dedicated and committed in many different ways.

I'm George Christ, professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia, where I hold the Commonwealth Chair in engineering. I run the laboratory for Regenerative Therapeutics, and we're a diverse group of interdisciplinary researchers dedicated to developing regenerative medicine and tissue engineering technologies to treat craniofacial and extremity trauma. Our wounded warriors. And this work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, as well as primarily the Department of Defense and Industry stakeholders.

Because any time you're doing translational research and trying to get things into the clinic, giving a diverse funding portfolio, our work is focusing on creating replacement tissues and organs for those in need and primarily for wounded warriors with head, neck and extremity trauma injuries. But this is where the Manning Institute has an enormous potential to be impactful because the GMP state of the art GMP facilities there could provide a place where we could create replacement tissues and organs right on the campus here at UVA to serve not only our wounded warriors, but the civilian population as well.

George Christ, PhD
Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopedic Surgery


Transcript:
I do what you would refer to as translational research. That means everything from basic science to clinical applications. And for me personally, that means every single day I'm doing something different, learning something new. And the group of people that you have to assemble to do that is diverse, incredibly talented, brilliant and dedicated and committed in many different ways.

I'm George Christ, professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia, where I hold the Commonwealth Chair in engineering. I run the laboratory for Regenerative Therapeutics, and we're a diverse group of interdisciplinary researchers dedicated to developing regenerative medicine and tissue engineering technologies to treat craniofacial and extremity trauma. Our wounded warriors. And this work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, as well as primarily the Department of Defense and Industry stakeholders.

Because any time you're doing translational research and trying to get things into the clinic, giving a diverse funding portfolio, our work is focusing on creating replacement tissues and organs for those in need and primarily for wounded warriors with head, neck and extremity trauma injuries. But this is where the Manning Institute has an enormous potential to be impactful because the GMP state of the art GMP facilities there could provide a place where we could create replacement tissues and organs right on the campus here at UVA to serve not only our wounded warriors, but the civilian population as well.

2 0

YouTube Video UExNN0UyT2ZDUHBmcVhISElkQ19zLU9fb0xxWXNzRzVVXy5BNzdEQzY0REQzQTEyN0U3

George Christ, PhD discusses transformative regenerative medicine research.

Learn more about how Jayakrishna Ambati, MD, is developing treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Roger Abounader, MD, PhD, studies the mechanisms of brain cancer to develop better therapies.

Clinical Scientist Dr. Zhiyi Zuo studies stroke effects and post op cognitive dysfunction.

Studying diseases that arise from defects in DNA replication with Anja Bielinsky, PhD.

Using Focused Ultrasound and deep brain stimulation with Neurosurgeon Jeff Elias, MD

William Petri, MD, PhD, studies infectious diseases like COVID 19 and helps explain it to the public. By studying how the immune system protects us, his research team made a surprising discovery.  #Covid19 #covid19treatment

Find out more about Petri's research here: https://med.virginia.edu/petri-lab/

Transcription:
One of the things I love about my research is this opportunity to explain to the public things that come up in infectious diseases. This most recently has been with COVID 19, where I've been writing a column of questions and answers about COVID 19, also about polio, or what's new with the flu vaccine this year. And so the ability to understand the science and then be able to explain it to the public is a very rewarding part of my profession.

My name is Bill Petri. I'm a professor of infectious diseases at UVA, and my research involves not just the Department of Medicine and our infectious disease fellows, but also graduate students in the Microbiology, immunology, Cancer Biology Department and Biochemistry, as well as in pathology.

In my lab, we study infectious diseases and how the immune system protects us from infections. And we do that in infections that are important in countries like Bangladesh as well as here in the U.S. and even at the University of Virginia Hospital. And what is so interesting about that is that the more that we learn, the more we understand about how beautifully created the immune system is to provide protection against parasites, viruses and bacteria. I think one example of the impact of what we're doing is in COVID 19, where we've discovered that an allergy drug called Dupilumab is an effective treatment for patients hospitalized with the most severe forms of COVID 19.

William Petri, MD, PhD
Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases & International Health, Department of Medicine

William Petri, MD, PhD
Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases & International Health, Department of Medicine

https://med.virginia.edu/research/

Transcription:
One of the things I love about my research is this opportunity to explain to the public things that come up in infectious diseases. This most recently has been with COVID 19, where I've been writing a column of questions and answers about COVID 19, also about polio, or what's new with the flu vaccine this year. And so the ability to understand the science and then be able to explain it to the public is a very rewarding part of my profession.

My name is Bill Petri. I'm a professor of infectious diseases at UVA, and my research involves not just the Department of Medicine and our infectious disease fellows, but also graduate students in the Microbiology, immunology, Cancer Biology Department and Biochemistry, as well as in pathology.

In my lab, we study infectious diseases and how the immune system protects us from infections. And we do that in infections that are important in countries like Bangladesh as well as here in the U.S. and even at the University of Virginia Hospital. And what is so interesting about that is that the more that we learn, the more we understand about how beautifully created the immune system is to provide protection against parasites, viruses and bacteria. I think one example of the impact of what we're doing is in COVID 19, where we've discovered that an allergy drug called Dupilumab is an effective treatment for patients hospitalized with the most severe forms of COVID 19.

0 0

YouTube Video UExNN0UyT2ZDUHBmcVhISElkQ19zLU9fb0xxWXNzRzVVXy41NTZEOThBNThFOUVGQkVB

William Petri, MD, PhD shares an effective treatment for COVID based on your immune system.

Many conditions, including #autoimmune diseases, #cardiovascular diseases, and cancers, are correlated to the extracellular matrices and how they’re formed. By understanding how they’re formed, Jochen Zimmer, PhD, hopes to design artificial tissues. 

Learn more about Jochen Zimmer’s research here: https://med.virginia.edu/faculty/faculty-listing/jz3x/

Transcript:
Every day I'm learning something new about a new biological process that I hadn't been aware of or we are learning about new techniques that allow us to address our questions from different angles.
My name is Jochen Zimmer. I'm a professor in the molecular physiology and biological physics department at the UVA School of Medicine, and we are using techniques from structural biology, primarily cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography to identify how nano machines that are responsible for producing these biological polymers that are deposited on the cell surface, how they're formed, how they're transported to the cell surface, and how they're assembled at the surface to actually produce unique materials. The formation of the extracellular matrix in vertebrates, in humans, correlates with many different pathological conditions. This includes autoimmune diseases, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer. So forming these extracellular matrices is very critical for a healthy system, organism to function and thrive. Furthermore, if we are able to actually reconstitute or recapitulate the formation of these extracellular matrices in vitro, we can use this information to design artificial tissues which is important for therapeutic as well as diagnostic purposes.

Jochen Zimmer, PhD
Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics

Jochen Zimmer, PhD
Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics

https://med.virginia.edu/research/

Transcript:
Every day I'm learning something new about a new biological process that I hadn't been aware of or we are learning about new techniques that allow us to address our questions from different angles.
My name is Jochen Zimmer. I'm a professor in the molecular physiology and biological physics department at the UVA School of Medicine, and we are using techniques from structural biology, primarily cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography to identify how nano machines that are responsible for producing these biological polymers that are deposited on the cell surface, how they're formed, how they're transported to the cell surface, and how they're assembled at the surface to actually produce unique materials. The formation of the extracellular matrix in vertebrates, in humans, correlates with many different pathological conditions. This includes autoimmune diseases, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer. So forming these extracellular matrices is very critical for a healthy system, organism to function and thrive. Furthermore, if we are able to actually reconstitute or recapitulate the formation of these extracellular matrices in vitro, we can use this information to design artificial tissues which is important for therapeutic as well as diagnostic purposes.

0 0

YouTube Video UExNN0UyT2ZDUHBmcVhISElkQ19zLU9fb0xxWXNzRzVVXy41RTNBREYwMkI5QzU3RkY2

Jochen Zimmer, PhD, studies what humans need to function and thrive.

Robert Dreicer, MD discusses the privilege of caring for patients and cancer clinical research (x)