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Department of Molecular Medicine

The Department of Molecular Medicine encompasses a diverse scope of basic and translational research. The faculty on our La Jolla and Florida campuses leverages the fields of chemistry, structure and biology to understand cellular processes and disease mechanisms at the molecular level, which lays the foundation for the development of novel therapies to counter disease. Ongoing research of our faculty address major therapeutic areas that include diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, retinal degeneration, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and diseases of aging. 

A special emphasis within the Molecular Medicine Department is placed on state of the art chemical biology to dissect signaling pathways and transcriptional programs, and identify molecular targets for therapeutic intervention.  Multidisciplinary approaches and ready access to advanced instrumentation for next-generation sequencing, proteomics, structural biology and high-throughput drug screening offers unique opportunities to discover new therapeutic targets and identify drug leads. 

Interests in cancer cover most major human malignancies including breast, lung, ovarian, leukemia, pancreatic and prostate carcinoma, and glioblastoma. Research conducted involves the study of tumor cell biology, metabolism, development, signal transduction pathways, oncogenes and tumor suppressors, apoptosis, the DNA damage response, autophagy, invasion and metastasis, chemo-resistance, and the interplay between aging and cancer.  

Faculty engaged in research on age related diseases are focused on understanding alterations in whole-body metabolism that lead to metabolic diseases and identifying the physiological changes that lead to physical and cognitive decline during aging. This knowledge may then be applied to developing therapies targeting metabolic disease and age-dependent functional impairment, with the goal of maintaining optimal health throughout lifespan.

Faculty and their research groups have access to multidisciplinary methodology and model systems for target identification, validation and pre-clinical studies, and options access to optimize the leads for target validation through close interactions with medicinal chemists and pharmacologists at TSRI.