Pseudo-gel of DNA prepared for genomic analysis. Courtesy of Dr. David Auble

Molecular Biologists at UVA employ a variety of techniques to identify and characterize molecular interactions and determine how such interactions are regulated.

Regardless of whether a research lab focuses on biological problems at the organismal, cellular, biochemical, biophysical or structural level, the discipline of molecular biology likely plays an integral role.  The techniques of molecular biology include manipulation of DNA (including cloning and PCR), gel electrophoresis, immunoprecipitation, and various types of hybridization techniques (including “blots”) to detect DNA, RNA or protein.

At the University of Virginia, graduate students in the majority of our research labs employ molecular biological approaches to address problems that span the full range of modern biological inquiry. We seek graduate students with a passionate interest in exploiting any and all avenues to discover answers to the most important biological problems.

Since molecular biology impacts virtually all aspects of biological research, training in this discipline helps provide our students with the foundation needed for successful careers in academia and industry.


  • Tarek A. Abbas
    The Ubiquitin System and Human Cancer
  • Roger Abounader
    Basic and translational brain tumor research
  • Mazhar Adli
    Understanding and manipulating the genetics and epigenetics information to study stem cells, differentiation and cancer
  • Herve Agaisse
    Genetic approaches, cellular and molecular biology of intracellular pathogen infection
  • David T. Auble
    Molecular Mechanisms of Transcriptional Regulation
  • Stefan Bekiranov
    Physical Modeling of Microarray Hybridization; Analysis of Genomic Tiling Array Data; Bioinformatics; Computational Biology; Regulatory Networks
  • Timothy P. Bender
    Regulation of gene expression during lymphocyte development
  • Sanchita Bhatnagar
    Epigenetic Silencing Mechanisms-Implications in Breast Cancer and Rett Syndrome
  • Amy H. Bouton
    Signaling Pathways and Breast Cancer
  • David L. Brautigan
    Protein Phosphorylation in Cell Signaling
  • Jay C. Brown
    Structure and Assembly of the Herpes Simplex Virus Capsid.
  • Steven Caliari
    Engineering dynamic biomaterials to explore the interplay between cells and their microenvironment
  • Jessica J. Connelly
    Epigenetic mechanisms involved in complex human disease
  • Janet V. Cross
    Contribution of the Inflammatory Microenvironment to Tumor Initiation, Progression and Metastasis; Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer Chemoprevention; Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Dietary Nutrient Compounds
  • Christopher Deppmann
    Elucidating and Understanding the Mechanisms Underlying Nervous System Development
  • Zygmunt S. Derewenda
    Structure-function relationships in proteins
  • Isabelle Derre
    Host/pathogen Interaction - Chlamydia Infection
  • Anindya Dutta
    Genomic Instability in Cancer Cells; Noncoding RNAs in differentiation and cancer
  • Noelle Dwyer
    Neural Development; Cell Division in Neural Stem Cells; Axon Outgrowth and Guidance
  • Daniel A. Engel
    Drug Discovery and Molecular Biology of Pathogenic RNA viruses: Influenza, Dengue and Ebola.
  • Sarah E Ewald
    Innate immunity, chronic disease, host-parasite interactions
  • Salem Faham
    Structural biology of membrane proteins; Structure/function and structure/stability relationships and the development of new tools for protein crystallization.
  • Charles R. Farber
    Systems Genetics of Skeletal Development and Maintenance
  • Robin A. Felder
    Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology. Medical Automation Research. Neurotransmitters, cell surface receptors and intracellular second messengers.
  • Andreas Gahlmann
    Bacterial cell biology at the molecular level
  • Barbie Ganser-Pornillos
    The Structural Biology of HIV assembly
  • Daniel Gioeli
    Signal transduction in cancer cells
  • Adam N. Goldfarb
    Hematopathology and Understanding the Molecular Basis of Hematopoiesis and Leukemogenesis
  • Robert M. Grainger
    Molecular embryology--gene regulation in cells committed to specific developmental lineages
  • Patrick A. Grant
    Transcription; Chromatin Modifications, Neurodegenerative Disease, Cancer
  • Michael J. Guertin
    Transcription, Chromatin, Cancer, Molecular Biology, Genomics, and Computational Biology
  • Jennifer Guler
    Cell Biology and Parasitology.
  • Adrian J. Halme
    Regeneration and Systemic Responses to Tissue Damage
  • Thurl E Harris
    Molecular mechanisms controlling insulin signaling and fat synthesis.
  • John C. Herr
    Spermatogenesis and oogenesis; fertilization; cancer-testis and cancer-oocyte neoantigens.
  • Joel W. Hockensmith
    Novel antiprotozoan and anticancer compounds from antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Kevin A. Janes
    Systems-biology approaches to cancer biology and virology.
  • Raymond E. Keller
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis
  • Melissa M. Kendall
    Mechanisms used by Bacterial Pathogens to Integrate Host- and Bacterial-derived Signals to Sense their Environment, Coordinate Gene Expression, and Cause Disease
  • Mark Kester
    Nanotechnologies for targeted drug delivery
  • Jonathan Kipnis
    Neuroimmunology and glia biology in cognition, neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration
  • Robert H. Kretsinger
    Structure and Mechanism of Enzymes; Evolution of Ca-Modulated Proteins
  • Sarah C Kucenas
    The role of glia in the development, maintenance and regeneration of the nervous system
  • Victor E. Laubach
    Translational research into understanding cell and molecular mechanisms of lung ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury following transplantation and defining new therapeutic targets to prevent such injury.
  • Norbert Leitinger
    Role of lipid oxidation products in inflammation and vascular immunology in atherosclerosis and diabetes
  • Hui Li
    Gene regulation in cancer, development and reproductive systems; Epigenetic modification.
  • Thomas P Loughran, Jr.
    Hematologic malignancies; bone marrow disorders; leukemia; large granular lymphocyte (LGL)
  • Xiaowei Lu
    Developmental regulation of planar cell polarity in the mammalian nervous system
  • John R. Lukens
    Neuroinflammatory disease
  • Mani S. Mahadevan
    Molecular Mechanisms of Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy
  • Marty W. Mayo
    Transcriptional Regulation by NFKB
  • Michael J McConnell
    The Cause and Consequence of Somatic Mosaicism in Neurons
  • Coleen A. McNamara
    Atherosclerosis, Obesity, Diabetes
  • Eyleen Jorgelina O'Rourke
    Obesity and Aging
  • Lucy F. Pemberton
    Nuclear Transport in Chromatin Assembly and Transcriptional Regulation
  • Owen Pornillos
    Structure and assembly of HIV Virus/host interactions Structural biology of the innate immune system
  • Girija Ramakrishnan
    Iron-uptake mechanisms and Virulence Factors of Francisella tularensis; Microbial Pathogenesis
  • Kodi S. Ravichandran
    Apoptotic cell clearance mechanisms in health and disease
  • David M. Rekosh
    Human Immunodeficiency; Virus Gene Expression
  • Michele Sale
    Genetics of complex disease
  • Ira G. Schulman
    Regulation of transcription by nuclear hormone receptors, transcriptional control of metabolism, atherosclerosis, Small molecule approaches to drug discovery
  • Jung-Bum Shin
    Auditory Neurobiology
  • Jogender Tushir Singh
    Tailored fit targeting approaches: Cancer Immunotherapy, Bispecific Antibodies, Antibody-siRNA conjugates, Application in Cancer therapeutics
  • M. Mitchell Smith
    Functional Genomics of Histones, Chromatin, and Protein Acetylation Signaling in Cancer and the Cell Cycle
  • Jeffrey S. Smith
    Transcriptional Silencing and Aging in Yeast
  • P. Todd Stukenberg
    Mechanisms of chromosome segregation in Mitosis and generation of Chromosomal Instability in tumors
  • Lukas K. Tamm
    Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions
  • Christine I. Thisse
    Molecular Mechanisms of Early Vertebrate Development and Morphogenesis. Application to Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
  • Michael P. Timko
    Gene regulation during host-parasite interaction
  • Yuh-Hwa Wang
    Genome instability in human disease
  • Judith A. Woodfolk
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of allergic disease in humans.
  • W. Michael Wormington
    Regulation of miRNA Processing and Function During Oogenesis and Embryogenesis
  • David Wotton
    Regulation of Gene Expression, Development and Tumor Progression by TGF beta Signaling
  • Jing Yu
    Mammalian kidney development
  • Steven L. Zeichner
    Pathogenesis of infectious diseases and the development of new therapies and vaccines for infectious diseases and cancers.
  • J. Julius Zhu
    Neural Circuits in Healthy and Diseased Brains
  • Jochen Zimmer
    Transport of biopolymers across biological membranes with a particular interest in polysaccharide and protein translocation.