Seven research areas. Hundreds of specializations. Endless research potential. 

Research areas

We offer many areas of research opportunity for our students. You can review individual faculty specializations and find contact information using our faculty listing.

  • Biochemistry and biophysics

    Faculty interests cover a wide range of disciplines in the biomedical sciences and life sciences, including:

    • Metagenomics analysis of extreme microbial ecosystems
    • Functional genomics of insect peptide and lipid hormones and pheromones
    • Lipid metabolism
    • Muscle protein enzymology, structure and signaling
    • Muscle contraction and excitation-contraction coupling
    • Cell motility
    • Insulin signaling pathways and glucose transport
    • Receptor structure and transmembrane signal transduction mechanisms
    • Membrane-cytoskeletal interactions
    • Oxygen toxicity
    • Mammalian lipid metabolism in cancer and receptor-mediated endocytosis
    • Protein engineering and design
  • Bioinformatics

    Faculty research interests in bioinformatics include:

    • Computational methods in the assembly and annotation of transcriptome and genome information derived from next-generation and single molecule sequencing
    • Nucleic acid and protein database mining
    • Macromolecular structure and functional analyses

  • Developmental and cell biology

    Faculty research interests include:

    • Mechanochemical behaviors of cellular systems
    • Biosynthesis and function of glycoproteins
    • Receptor-signal transduction in contractile cells
    • Regulation of smooth muscle contraction
    • Signal transduction in plant development
    • Plant cell wall biosynthesis and deposition
    • Regulation of excitability in sensory neurons
    • Control of axon navigation by extracellular cues
    • Molecular mechanisms of neuronal polarization
    • Biochemical and genetic analyses of prion proteins and prion diseases
    • Insulin signaling pathways and glucose transport
    • Regulation of metabolic pathways by nuclear hormone receptors
    • Small non-coding RNAs in germ cells
    • MicroRNAs in growth, development and pathology of the GI tract
  • Microbiology and immunology

    Research areas include:

    • Receptor control of lymphocyte-mediated antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity
    • T lymphocyte anergy and tolerance in the context of cancer infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases
    • Molecular mechanisms of herpesvirus DNA replication
    • Latent replication and persistence of Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus and human cytomegalovirus
    • Pathogenesis, immunotherapy and molecular biology of opportunistic fungal infections and biothreats such as anthrax
    • Microbial ecology and metagenomics of aquatic and symbiotic microbial communities
    • Small regulatory RNA and protein-based mechanisms controlling virulence gene expression in bacterial pathogens
    • Engineering protein-based therapeutics
  • Neuroscience

    Research areas include:

    • Axon guidance and neuronal polarity
    • Control of axon navigation by extracellular cues
    • Roles of glia and neural activity in synapse development
    • Peripheral nervous system regulation of blood vessels and visceral smooth muscles function
    • Mechanisms of neurotransmitter release
    • Metabolism and action
    • Identification of novel neurotransmitters
    • Rhythmicity and neuroeffector transmission in visceral organs
    • Plasticity of extraocular muscles
    • Quantification of neurons and glial cells
    • Role of mitochondria in neurodegeneration and synaptic function
    • Sensation and adaptation to environmental stimuli
    • Genetic bases of behavior
  • Pharmacology and physiology

    Our dynamic faculty group uses cutting edge methods, including human tissues and cells and genetic animal models, to address problems in human medicine. Studies range from the mechanisms of the actions of drugs and hormones to the biophysical properties of ion channels. Our faculty provide a competitive training ground to launch your scientific future.

    Our scientific expertise on diseases includes:

    • Alzheimer’s
    • Asthma
    • Breast cancer
    • Cardiac arrhythmia
    • Diabetes
    • Gastrointestinal motility
    • Heart failure
    • High blood pressure
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Muscular dystrophy
    • Obesity
    • Preterm labor
    • Reproductive health and fertilization
  • Plant biology

    Faculty research interests within the plant sciences include:

    • Environmental and biotic stress functional genomics
    • Systems biology
    • Synthetic biology and biodesign
    • Mechanisms of signal transduction
    • Plant cell wall formation and destruction
    • Rubber and vitamin biosynthesis
    • Biofuel feedstock production in arid land plants and algae

Major research initiatives

Nevada INBRE Core Facilities

Fostering educational opportunities for future biomedical researchers, providing grants, encouraging biomedical research, supporting research service laboratories and collaborating with other Western IDeA states to help traditionally underfunded states build biomedical infrastructure.

Research facilities

  • Nevada INBRE Bioinformatics Core
  • Nevada Cytometry Center
  • Nevada Genomics Core Facility
  • In Vivo Imaging Core
  • Nevada Proteomics Center

Integrative Neuroscience - COBRE

A multidisciplinary research center bringing together neuroscientists from across campus to foster complementary and synergistic approaches to understanding the brain and neurological disorders.

Research facilities

  • Neuroimaging Core
  • Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Core

Smooth Muscle Plasticity Core Facility

Fostering research in the field of smooth muscle biology.

  • Single Cell Molecular Expression
  • Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting and Flow Cytometry

Cell Signaling Research Core Facility

Studying the cell biology of signaling across membranes.

  • Transmission Electron Microscopy
  • Cell Metabolism Analysis
  • Confocal Imaging
  • Nevada Transgenic Center