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Research Cores

Dr. Thierry OlivryAllergy and Clinical Immunology

This core concentrates on the characterization of spontaneous companion animal allergic and immunologic diseases. Areas of interest include genetics, molecular and immunopathological mechanisms and investigation of new diagnostic tests and novel preventive and/or treatment modalities. For more information contact the core leader, Dr. Thierry Olivry.

2014 Chancellor's Innovation Fund. The proposal "Allergic Disease Therapy Using Anti-IgE Monoclonal Antibodies from Canine B Cells" has been selected as a recipient of the 2014 Chancellor's Innovation Fund grant. Drs. Thierry Olivry and Bruce Hammerberg will lead this research effort.

Anthony BlikslagerBiological Barriers

This core concentrates on the pathogenetic mechanisms of disease in epithelium lining the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive tracts. Areas of focus include signal transduction events and molecules related to ion and fluid transport and secretion, interactions of epithelium with extracellular matrix and with inflammatory cells, and mechanisms of epithelial hyperplasia and metaplasia. For more information contact the core leader, Dr. Anthony Blikslager.

Specific areas of research include:

  1. Mechanisms of exocytotic secretion of mucus in health and disease using in vitro and in vivo approaches, including induced and naturally-occurring animal models.
  2. Mechanisms of ion and fluid transport across gastrointestinal epithelium in health and disease.
  3. Mechanisms governing mucosal response to inflammatory and injurious stimuli, including interactions between multiple mucosal cell types and the extracellular matrix.
  4. Mechanisms of neutrophil adhesion and activation during mucosal compromise.
  5. Mechanisms of airway epithelial injury, repair and development of goblet cell hyperplasia and metaplasia using in vitro and induced in vivo models of inflammatory airway disease.
  6. Nutritional determinants of enteric disease states as they relate to mucosal injury and repair.
  7. Mechanisms of gastrointestinal injury and repair focused on epithelial restitution.

As part of the "In Search of Answers" video series featuring Center researchers, Dr. Adam Moeser discusses stress and gastrointestinal disorders:

Recent articles from core members:

Dr. Alison Motsinger-ReifBiostatistics

The core concentrates on the development of new statistical methodologies to be applied to scientific research in the areas of medicine, pharmacology, and public health. For more information contact the core leader, Dr. Alison Motsinger-Reif.

Specific areas of research include:

  1. Development of statistical methods for the design and analysis of clinical trials.
  2. Bioinformatics and computational biology.
  3. Statistical genetics including statistical methods to identify susceptibility genes for complex traits.
  4. Novel statistical approaches for longitudinal data analysis, survival analysis, and missing data.

Dr. Natasha OlbyClinical Genomics

This core concentrates on the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in disease states, and in the identification analysis of spontaneous and induced (transgenic) familial and congenital disorders. Areas of focus include cellular genomic basis of familial disorders, the role of the epigenome in congenital/familial abnormalities, and functional genomics through microarrays, bioinformatics, biostatistics, transgenics and molecular therapeutics. For more information contact the core leader, Dr. Natasha Olby.

Specific areas of research include:

  1. Cellular genomic approaches for the study and treatment of congenital and/or familial disorders.
  2. Development and implementation of gene expression profiling approaches to understand normal and abnormal biological processes.
  3. Linkage and mapping analysis for studying the genetic basis of inherited disorders.
  4. Epigenetic and imprinting disregulation effects on abnormal fetal and placental development.
  5. Development of transgenic animal models of human and animal disease.
  6. Development of statistical approaches for the utilization of animal models in clinical trials.
  7. Development of novel therapeutic approaches to genetic diseases.

Recent articles involving core members:

Troy GhashghaeiComparative Neurobiology

This core addresses the scientific study of the nervous system and related components. Such studies span the structure, function, development, genetics, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, informatics, and pathology of the nervous system. For more information, contact the core leader, Dr. Troy Ghashghaei.

Specific areas of research include:

  1. Developmental neurobiology.
  2. Nervous system plasticity.
  3. Regenerative neurobiology.
  4. Nociception.
  5. Nervous system pathobiology.
  6. Stem cell therapy.
  7. Spinal cord injury.
  8. Neurodegenerative diseases.
  9. Functional outcome measures.

Recent articles involving core members:

Dr. Sid ThakurEmerging Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases

This core uses an integrated approach to achieve a better understanding of infectious diseases in the area of One Health. Focus areas include molecular pathogenesis, antibiotic resistance, microbial diversity, pathogen detection, therapeutics and vaccines, and the effects of the environment on infectious disease. The goal of this core is to integrate basic and clinical research to investigate infectious diseases of companion and production animals, and to exploit animal models of human disease. For more information contact the core leader, Dr. Sid Thakur.

Specific areas of research include:

  1. Development of molecular diagnostic tools for bacterial and rickettsial organisms.
  2. Study of the molecular basis of virulence among infectious agents.
  3. Improved biosecurity against infectious diseases in production animals.
  4. Advances in molecular epidemiology for the detection and spread of pathogens.
  5. Study of the basis and spread of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.
  6. Vaccine development.

Articles involving core members:




The core concentrates on improving the understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of cancer through collaborative research on induced and spontaneous models of cancer. Areas of focus include cancer genomics, cytogenetics, manipulation of tumor physiology, signaling and cell cycle control/differentiation, clinical diagnosis and treatment. For more information contact the core leader, Dr. Steve Suter.

Specific areas of research include:

  1. Cancer genomics/molecular cytogenetics of a variety of cancers of comparative significance (including linkage and mapping analysis, correlation with disease occurrence and outcome).
  2. Cell signaling/cell cycle control/differentiation.
  3. Tumor physiology (effects of intervention on physiologic parameters in tumors).
  4. Development and testing of novel therapeutics and validation of surrogate markers.
  5. Clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Articles from core members:

As part of the "In Search of Answers" video series featuring Center researchers, Dr. Horowitz provides enlightening discussion regarding oncology research and related areas:

Dr. Jorge PiedrahitaStem Cells & Regenerative Medicine

This core concentrates on the clinical applications of stem cells in regenerative medicine. Areas of focus include development and characterization of induced pluripotential stem cells, stem cells and cancer, stem cells and spinal cord repair, and basic studies on transcriptional control of stem cell differentiation. For more information contact the core leader, Dr. Jorge Piedrahita.

Specific Areas of research include:

  1. Targeted differentiation of ES cells and iPS into different tissue types.
  2. Development of alternative large animal models for stem cell repair.
  3. Effects of electrical and mechanical stimulation on stem cell fate.
  4. Isolation and characterization of side populations from multiple cancer types.
  5. Development of therapeutic strategies targeting cancer stem cells, including induced differentiation.

Regenerative Medicine is a term applied to new medical advances in which an understanding of the human genome (all the inheritable traits of an organism) allows us to use the body's own mechanisms to heal it. Expected advances include a host of new pharmaceuticals and, eventually, the ability to create new tissues for transplant. Related information:

The CCMTR is collaborating with UNC's School of Medicine in the area of regenerative medicine. Click here for information on the research, people and resources involved in this joint program. The two institutions recently held their first symposium: Symposium Encourages Collaborative Efforts in Regenerative Medicine.