Areas of Research

The Department of Biochemistry is a multidisciplinary program in basic science that encompasses a wide-range of advanced research topics utilizing cutting edge approaches in cellular and molecular biochemistry. The research faculty of the Department of Biochemistry is actively involved in one or more of the following major research areas:

Bone Biology and Skeletal Complications of Malignancies
Bone BiologyThe Department of Biology has unique programs that bring together a focus on the molecular, cellular and genetic models to understand regulatory mechanisms for the formation and homeostasis of bone and cartilage. Mechanisms regulating cell population in the MSK system are being addressed. Pathologic disorders currently being investigated include osteopetrosis, metastatic bone disease, chondrodysplasia related to dwarfism, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, and bone loss related to age, embryonic malformations associated with disruption of signaling pathways and transcription factor networks. Analysis of bone tissue from humans and mouse models are supported by Core facilities that include genetic and proteomic analysis, specialized histology, in vivo molecular imaging, scanning and electron microscopy and high resolution micro-computed tomography.Jane Lian
Jonathan Gordon
Janet Stein
Gary Stein
Cancer Biology and Pathology
Cancer BiologyMany cancers arise from defects in cell biology, including osteosarcoma and soft tissue sarcoma, leukemia and lymphoma, and carcinoma of the skin, liver, colon, breast and prostate. Research investigates cell growth regulation and the links between dysregulated cell growth, cancer, and aging. Topics include genetic and epigenetic regulation of oncogenes and tumor suppressors, and other factors that regulate the cell cycle, mediate cell senescence, control chromosome segregation, and govern cell motility. Links between chromatin structure and/or nuclear structure and tumorigenesis are being explored.Christopher Berger
Beth Bouchard
Christopher Francklyn
Prachi Ghule
Robert Hondal
Robert Kelm
Anne Mason
Scott Morrical
Erik Ruggles
Gary Stein
Janet Stein
Russell Tracy
Sayyed Zaidi
Cellular Structure and Function
Cellular Structure and FunctionThe nucleus architecturally organizes nucleic acid metabolism. The DNA containing chromatin, an RNA containing nuclear matrix, and the nuclear lamina/envelope are interconnected structures. Subassemblies at their intersections spatially organize DNA replication, RNA transcription, RNA processing, the packaging of DNA into active or silenced chromatin, and other processes. Changes in these structural inter-relationships are a major driver of disease, including cancer and premature aging.Gary Stein
Janet Stein
Jane Lian
Sayyed Zaidi
Coagulation Biology and Disease
TCoagulation Biologyhe Coagulation group (often referred to as ‘The Clotters’) is a large and close knit group of investigators who are studying all aspects of hemostasis. The work includes the identification, purification, kinetic characterization and structure determination of new clotting factors & inhibitors, pseudo in-vivo functional studies, cascade modeling, the role of the platelet and the identification of genetic risk markers. The Department has held an NIH Training Grant in Hemostasis for over 20 years to support both students and postdoctoral fellows.Beth Bouchard
Kathleen Brummel-Ziedins
Saulius Butenas
Stephen Everse
Robert Kelm
Kenneth Mann
Thomas Orfeo
Jay Silveira
Russell Tracy
Paula Tracy
Enzymology, Physical Biochemistry, and Structural Biology
EnzymologyEnzymes touch virtually every aspect of biochemistry. How an enzyme recognizes a substrate, cleaves it, and releases it are complex problems requiring a multi-disciplinary approach to understand. Many labs in the Department are taking a quantitative and/or structural approach to study enzymes in action. Research areas include: selenium containing enzymes, tRNA synthetases, enzymes and co-factors of the coagulation cascade, and DNA replication and recombination machines amongst others. The Department of Biochemistry, as part of the UVM College of Medicine’s Structural Biology Initiative, has embarked on a major program to establish structural biology as a core research discipline on this campus. This program has been facilitated by major grants to UVM from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and from the Department of Energy (DOE). Ongoing projects include X-ray structures of: iron binding proteins, blood clotting factors, DNA-protein complexes involved in replication, recombination, and transcriptional regulation, and synthetase-tRNA complexes.Anne Mason
Beth Bouchard
Christopher Berger
Christopher Francklyn
Erik Ruggles
Jay Silveira
Kathleen Brummel-Ziedins
Kenneth Mann
Paula Tracy
Robert Hondal
Robert Kelm
Russell Tracy
Saulius Butenas
Scott Morrical
Stephen Everse
Thomas Orfeo
Functional Nucleic Acid/Protein Interactions
NucAc_Protein_InteractionsHow is a DNA replication fork assembled and regulated? How does a synthetase discriminate among dozens of tRNA species to find its one specific partner? How are DNA double-strand breaks repaired? Understanding mechanisms of transcription, translation, DNA replication, repair, and recombination are fundamentally important for predicting the stability or instability of genomes, for a molecular understanding of carcinogenesis, and for the design of new anti-tumor and anti-microbial agents. These and other important issues are being addressed by Biochemistry Faculty with interests in Nucleic Acid/Protein Interactions. Experimental approaches employed include thermodynamic, kinetic, and structural studies of DNA-protein and RNA-protein complexes, site directed mutagenesis of protein and nucleic acid components, plus biochemical assays for DNA synthesis, RNA synthesis, aminoacylation of tRNA, DNA recombination and repair.Prachi Ghule
Robert Kelm
Scott Morrical
Gary Stein
Janet Stein
Russell Tracy
Sayyed Zaidi
Genetic and Epigenetic Regulatory Mechanisms
Genetic_Epigenetic_MechanismsThe complicated interplay between eukaryotic RNA polymerases, transcription factors, cofactors, histone modifying and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes, and the structural proteins that comprise the chromatin ultimately results in the appropriate regulation of transcription initiation and elongation. Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression by mRNA stability and microRNA function brings an added level of complexity to gene regulation.Jane Lian
Jonathan Gordon
Gary Stein
Prachi Ghule
Janet Stein
Sayyed Zaidi