All major discoveries that underpin precision medicine come from the fields of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In the USU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, faculty are working on the molecular basis of devastating human diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), neurodevelopmental disorders, infertility, and cancer. Our faculty are engaged in teaching graduate and medical students who conduct research and provide outstanding medical care in support of the military.

Our research activities, combined with our teaching activities, contribute to public health and DoD by uncovering and communicating knowledge necessary to understand human diseases including those suffered by members of the Uniformed Services.


Recent News

Selected New publications 

Cheatham AM, Sharma NR, Satpute-Krishnan P.J Cell Biol. 2023 Oct 2;222(10):e202108160. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202108160. Epub 2023 Sep 13.

Roberts BS, Satpute-Krishnan P. (2023)

The many hats of transmembrane emp24 domain protein TMED9 in secretory pathway homeostasis

Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 Jan 16;10:1096899. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2022.1096899. eCollection 2022.

Liu P, Xie T, Wu X, Han G, Gupta SD, Zhang Z, Yue J, Dong F, Gable K, Niranjanakumari S, Li W, Wang L, Liu W, Yao R, Cahoon EB, Dunn TM, Gong X. Mechanism of sphingolipid homeostasis revealed by structural analysis of Arabidopsis SPT-ORM1 complex. Sci Adv. 2023 Mar 29;9(13):eadg0728. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adg0728. Epub 2023 Mar 29.

Srivastava S, Shaked HM, Gable K, Gupta SD, Pan X, Somashekarappa N, Han G, Mohassel P, Gotkine M, Doney E, Goldenberg P, Tan QKG, Gong Y, Kleinstiver B, Wishart B, Cope H, Pires CB, Stutzman H, Spillmann RC; Undiagnosed Disease Network; Sadjadi R, Elpeleg O, Lee CH, Bellen HJ, Edvardson S, Eichler F, Dunn TM. 

SPTSSA variants alter sphingolipid synthesis and cause a complex hereditary spastic paraplegia

Brain. 2023 Apr 19;146(4):1420-1435. doi: 10.1093/brain/awac460.

Pryzhkova MV, Boers R, Jordan PW. (2023) Modeling Human Gonad Development in Organoids.

Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2022 Dec;19(6):1185-1206. doi: 10.1007/s13770-022-00492-y. Epub 2022 Nov 9.

Qiu R, Zhang J, Xiang X.

J Cell Biol. 2023 Kinesin-1 autoinhibition facilitates the initiation of dynein cargo transport

Mar 6;222(3):e202205136. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202205136. Epub 2022 Dec 16.

Young-Baird SK. (2023) Pumping the brakes: A noncanonical RNA-binding domain in FMRP stalls elongating ribosomes.
J Biol Chem. 2023 Jan;299(1):102773. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102773. Epub 2022 Dec 5.

Phan TP, Boatwright CA, Drown CG, Skinner MW, Strong MA, Jordan PW, Holland AJ (2022) Upstream open reading frames control PLK4 translation and centriole duplication in primordial germ cells. Genes Dev.


Guo Y, Chomiak AA, Hong Y, Lowe CC, Kopsidas CA, Chan WC, Andrade J, Pan H, Zhou X, Monuki ES, Feng Y (2022) Histone H2A ubiquitination resulting from Brap loss of function connects multiple aging hallmarks and accelerates neurodegeneration. iScience 25 (7):104519.


Chomiak AA, Guo Y, Kopsidas CA, McDaniel DP, Lowe CC, Pan H, Zhou X, Zhou Q, Doughty ML, Feng Y (2022) Nde1 is required for heterochromatin compaction and stability in neocortical neurons. iScience 25 (6):104354.


Saoji M, Petersen CE, Sen A, Tripoli BA, Smyth JT, Cox RT (2022) Reduction of Drosophila Mitochondrial RNase P in Skeletal and Heart Muscle Causes Muscle Degeneration, Cardiomyopathy, and Heart Arrhythmia. Front Cell Dev Biol 10:788516. doi:10.3389/fcell.2022.788516

Ronzier E, Laurenson AJ, Manickam R, Liu S, Saintilma IM, Schrock DC, Hammer JA, Rotty JD (2022) The Actin Cytoskeleton Responds to Inflammatory Cues and Alters Macrophage Activation. Cells 11 (11).


Qiu R, Zhang J, Rotty JD, Xiang X.(2021) Dynein activation in vivo is regulated by the nucleotide states of its AAA3 domain. Curr Biol. 31:4486-4498.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.07.081. 


Saoji M, Sen A, Cox RT (2021) Loss of Mitochondrial Ribonuclease P complex proteins differentially affect mitochondrial tRNA processing in vivo. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(6066). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8200052/

Wang Y, Niu Y, Zhang Z, Gable K, Gupta SD, Somashekarappa N, Han G, Zhao H, Myasnikov AG, Kalathur RC, Dunn TM*, Lee CH*. (2021) Structural insights into the regulation of human serine palmitoyltransferase complexes. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 28::240-248 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33558761/

Mohassel P. ……….Dunn TM*, Bönnemann CG* (2021) Childhood amyotrophic lateral sclerosis caused by excess sphingolipid synthesis. Nature Medicine 27:1197-1204


New grants

Philip Jordan got his new RO1 (NICHD/NIH) “Pluripotent stem cell-derived organoid model of human gonad development, functions, and disorders" (1R01HD114180-01)

Teresa Dunn got her CDMRP - DOD Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Research Program (ALSRP) Therapeutic Development Award: “Targeting excessive Sphingolipid Synthesis for Treatment of ALS”

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