BIO Contact Info

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
4301 Jones Bridge Road, C1094
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799
Phone 301-295-3550
Fax 301-295-3512

Uniformed Services University

Biochemisty & Molecular Biology (BIO)

Research in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at USU encompasses diverse interests and employs a wide variety of approaches, experimental systems, and techniques. Driving our research is the desire to understand how biological molecules interact to orchestrate highly complex cellular processes.

The diverse environment in the department provides a broad spectrum of expertise that benefits everyone. Research programs include investigations on sphingolipid metabolism, human multi-drug transporters, unusual metalloenzymes in anaerobic metabolism, RNA splicing, mRNA turnover, intracellular organelle distribution mediated by microtubule motors, the mechanisms controlling the distribution of homologous recombination events in meiosis, mitochondrial quality control, secretory pathway protein quality control and protein trafficking, structure and function of the PhoP-PhoR proteins important for Mycobacterium tuberculosis virulence, mitochondrial RNA processing and structural enzymoly of B12 proteins.

Much of the departmental major equipment is shared. This allows students and postdoctoral fellows from different labs to be intermixed and enhances interactions at all levels. In addition, the department has available modern instrumentation for DNA/protein sequencing and synthesis as well as state-of-the-art genetic and proteomic analysis through access to the University's Biomedical Instrumentation Center (BIC).


Xin Xiang was awarded an RO1 grant from the NIH/NIGMS on "Regulation of cytoplasmic dynein in vivo" (May 2017).

Rachel Cox was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure (August 2016). Congratulations to Rachel!

Prasanna Satpute-Krishnan, a cell biologist from the NIH, joined our department as a tenure-track Assistant Professor (June 27, 2016). Welcome Prasanna!

Galina Petukhova was awarded a UO1 grant from the NIH/NIGMS on "Evolution of the homologous recombination mechanisms" (March 2016).

Rachel Cox (PI) and Markos Koutmos (Co-PI) were awarded a grant from the collaborative Health Initiative Research program (CHIRP) (a precision-medicine-based collaborative effort between the NIH and DoD) on "Identifying mitochondrial proteinaceous RNase P mutations linked to hypotension" (March 2016).

Markos Koutmos (PI) and Rachel Cox (Co-PI) were awarded an RO1 grant from NIH/NIGMS on "Structural and functional basis for protein-based eukaryotic RNA processing" (Feb. 2016).

Aditya Sen et al (Cox lab) published in Disease Models and Mechanisms their finding that the protein Clueless physically and genetically interacts with the Parkin-PINK1 mitophagy pathway (June, 2015).  This work was featured on the journal's cover.

Rachel Cox was awarded an R21 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) entitled "Elucidating the mechanism of mitochondrial quality control in Drosophila" (Marh 2015).

Teresa Dunn obtained the R21 grant "Orm protein regulation of sphingolipid biosynthesis in yeast and mammals" from NICHD/NIH (April 2014)

Xuanli (Lia) Yao (Xiang lab) et al. published in Mol. Biol. Cell (MBoC) "FHIP and FTS proteins are critical for dynein-mediated transport of early endosomes in Aspergillus", and the paper is highlighted by MBoC (July 15, 2014)

Jun Zhang, Rongde Qiu (Xiang lab) et al published in the Journal of Cell Biology (March 17, 2014) their finding of a protein that links dynein to early endosomes. The results are highlighted by JCB

Galina Petukhova won the USUHS 2013 Henry Wu award for excellence in the basic sciences, which recognizes her recent work "PRDM9 directs genetic recombination away from functional genomic elements" published in Nature.

Markos Koutmos was awarded the Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association (National Center) on "B12-dependent enzymes and B12-transport proteins in homocysteine metabolism".