Research includes impressive scale and scope
Faculty in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences (BBS) work on a wide array of research
subjects and problems. BBS is also the home of the sole graduate program of the
University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. BBS closely collaborates
with other departments in the University of South Dakota, including biology,
audiology, clinical psychology, and biomedical engineering. For more details please contact the Division of Basic
BBS researchers and research project summaries:
Lee Baugh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Dr. Baugh studies the neurological and psychological mechanisms underlying movement, especially related to changes as we age and through damage to the brain.
Brian Burrell, Ph.D. Associate Professor Dr. Burrell studies changes that occur in the nervous system in response to pain. From these studies it is hoped that new treatments for chronic pain will be developed.
Michael Chaussee, Ph.D., Associate Professor Dr. Chaussee’s lab is trying to learn how a single species of bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes can sometimes colonize humans without causing disease, while at other times it causes sore throat (“strep-throat”), acute rheumatic fever and heart disease.
Kathleen Eyster, Ph.D., Professor Research focus in this lab is reproductive endocrinology, especially developing an understanding how female hormones affect the development of abnormal conditions including endometriosis.
Gina Forster, Ph.D., Associate Professor Dr. Forster’s research seeks to understand issues underlying substance abuse and what causes individuals to seek drugs initially and to relapse after quitting. Changes in brain chemistry associated with drug seeking and anxiety states are investigated. Dr. Forster’s lab also examines the neuroscience of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
Victor Huber, Ph.D., Associate Professor Using new technology and techniques developed by Dr. Huber and being readied for commercialization, the lab aims to generate new vaccines that will provide broad immunity to the influenza virus.
Joyce Keifer, Ph.D., Professor Studies of learning and memory are the focus of Dr. Keifer’s lab, including understanding cellular and molecular components underlying learning and memory. The studies have implications for disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Yifan Li, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor Dr. Li is interested in the regulation of the heart by the nervous system. His intent is to find ways to manipulate the nervous impulses controlling the heart to improve function after damage to the heart.
Doug Martin, Ph.D., Professor Dr. Martin seeks a better understanding of the physiological mechanisms that underlie the development of high blood pressure. He studies the role of the venous system in blood pressure regulation in order to develop better management approaches.
Lisa Moore, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Dr. Moore’s research emphasis is a bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, that is the cause of a widely occurring sexually transmitted disease. Dr. Moore seeks to understand how the bacterium obtains nutrients from the cell in order to generate better treatments for the disease.
Robert Morecraft, Ph.D., Professor Dr. Morecraft’s research centers around stroke. He uses a stroke model to learn how the brain recovers hand motion after stroke. He is interested in training paradigms that improve functional recovery.
Scot Ouellette, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Dr. Ouellette studies the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. His focus is to determine the functions of the bacteria that have been lost through evolution, and what functions either the host or other proteins have taken to allow the bacteria to survive. The proteins make druggable targets.
J. Scott Pattison, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Dr. Pattison investigates the pathways involved in controlling the quality of proteins in the cell as it relates to heart disease. He is interested in finding therapeutic approaches to heart failure. He also studies pathways leading to the death of heart muscle and the proteins that play a role in this process.
Khosrow Rezvani, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor Dr. Rezvani studies the role of a specific protein in cancer. He is working to understand the role of this protein in the cell and trying to find other mechanisms to treat cancer.
Samuel Sathyanesan, Ph.D., Associate Professor The focus of Dr. Sathyanesan’s work is the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as depression. He is working on better delivery methods for anti-depressants. His work is also aimed at determining the mechanisms by which these factors work in order to make them more effective.
Evelyn Schlenker, Ph.D., Professor Dr. Schlenker is interested in control of breathing by the nervous system. She also studies gender differences in this area.
Carlos Telleria, Ph.D., Professor Dr. Telleria’s lab studies ovarian cancer and development of new therapies. His work seeks to understand how cancer cells escape chemotherapy drugs by going dormant.
Hongmin Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Dr. Wang’s lab studies neurodegeneration, with a specific interest in Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Dr. Wang is focused on pathways that regulate protein quality in the cell and how these pathways can be exploited for therapy.
Xuejun Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Dr. Wang studies heart disease and heart failure, including investigating the role of protein degradation pathways. His aim is to identify components of the pathway that can be either protective or serve as drug targets to improve heart function.
Michael Watt, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor Dr. Watt uses a model of adolescent bullying to study brain changes and behavior of bullied animals in adulthood. Understanding changes in brain chemistry or connectivity as a consequence of social stress may lead to better approaches to treat these individuals.
Keith Weaver, Ph.D., Professor Dr. Weaver studies bacterial suicidal toxins that limit bacterial growth and may be involved in bacterial death and/or tolerance to antibiotics.