Student Spotlight

cmdb website berlett

Michael Berlett

Undergrad: Towson University


Welcome to the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (CMDB) PhD Theme, a part of the Graduate Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. The CMDB theme is designed to provide maximum flexibility that results in students who are prepared to launch into a career in the emerging biomedical science field. Our graduates have exciting careers in scientific research in both academic and industrial settings; scientific-related writing, business, law, bioterrorism, forensics, administration, and education. 

About Us: CMDB is a cross-disciplinary theme at a leading research University in the sunny south, consisting of a diverse group of scientists and physicians who have a collective interest in fundamental processes in cell, molecular, and developmental biology and how alterations in these processes result inhuman diseases and birth defects.

About UAB: We are consistently one of the top 25 NIH funded research institutions in the U.S. and with faculty from over 30 departments across campus there are many opportunities for you in new and exciting areas of biomedical research. And, UAB is a leader in innovative technology such as whole genome sequencing, electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, crystallography, flow cytometry, drug discovery and others.

Contact Us: We are always searching for the brightest and most dedicated students to join our highly competitive CMDB theme and experience firsthand our cutting edge science. This is your personal invitation to explore the many possible opportunities offered by CMDB at UAB. Please explore this web site and apply today!
  • UAB driving simulator lab has national debut live on TODAY
    UAB driving simulator lab has national debut live on TODAY
    Cutting-edge technology and research brings national attention to UAB.
    news today play btnClick the image above to play TODAY show segmentNBC’s TODAY show traveled to Birmingham to hear from UAB College of Arts and Sciences distracted driving expert Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D.

    On April 29, TODAY show correspondent Jeff Rossen reported live from UAB’s Translational Research for Injury Prevention Lab about the dangers of using social media and texting while driving.

    The TRIP Lab recently became home to the world’s first SUV simulator, made possible through donations from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Transportation.

    With the new simulator, UAB researchers hope to facilitate solutions and best practices in motor-vehicle-related safety and crash prevention, addressing the major public health problem of highway and traffic-related injuries and death. 

  • Study shows how different people respond to aspirin — an important cardioprotective drug
    Study shows how different people respond to aspirin — an important cardioprotective drug
    Understanding how people respond to aspirin is key in terms of knowing who will benefit from it.

    darley usmar 2016Researchers have learned new information about how different people respond to aspirin, a globally prescribed drug in cardioprotection. The research team, led by scientists at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom and including representatives from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Colorado, identified more than 5,600 lipids — or fats — in blood platelets and gained new insights into how these cells respond to aspirin.

    “Aspirin is a widely used cardiovascular preventive drug and also has an emerging role in cancer treatment and prevention,” said Valerie O’Donnell, Ph.D., Division of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University, and the study’s lead author. “Understanding how people respond to aspirin is key in terms of knowing who will benefit from it.”

    The findings, published April 28 in Cell Metabolism, are the first comprehensive lipidomic profile of human platelets in response to stimulation and aspirin treatment.

    “Our research shows a new link between energy metabolism and inflammation, as well as giving early insights into the fundamentals of precision medicine regarding the variation of the lipidome among individuals,” said Victor Darley-Usmar, Ph.D., Endowed Professor of Mitochondrial Medicine and Pathology at UAB and a co-investigator on the study.

    Lipids play essential structural roles, act as nutrients, and control a broad range of physiological and pathophysiological events in cells, according to the researchers.

    “While several lipid families are well-characterized at the molecular level, the total diversity and number of unique lipids in cells, how they change during cellular activation, and how they differ in individuals is unknown,” said Darley-Usmar. “This hampers integration of lipidomics into systems biology, and addressing it will improve our fundamental understanding of lipid biology, help identify new drug targets for therapy and discover lipid biomarkers from disease cohorts.”

    “This work led by Professor O’Donnell is a technical tour de force, providing a wonderful resource for other biomedical researchers,” said Mike Murphy, Ph.D., programme leader, Mitochondrial Biology Unit at Cambridge University, U.K. “A particularly important aspect is the focus on platelets, which are readily available from patients’ blood in diagnosis, prognosis or as a biomarker in assessing therapies. In addition to its future use, this work also demonstrated an unexpected link between mitochondrial fat metabolism and platelet activation during inflammation.”

    “Given the importance of aspirin as both a cardioprotective and possible cancer therapeutic, a full understanding of how it regulates platelet lipids will be the focus of a follow-on study with a larger number of volunteers,” said Robert Murphy, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado, and a study co-investigator. “The stability of the global lipidome with age, diet and over time is unknown, and the influence of external factors such as epigenetic control of lipid metabolizing enzymes could be considerable.”

    The research was funded by the European Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

  • Department of Ophthalmology to host 2016 Clinical and Research Symposium
    Department of Ophthalmology to host 2016 Clinical and Research Symposium
    The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and Department of Ophthalmology will host the 2016 Annual Clinical and Research Symposium on May 13-14 at the Westin Birmingham.

    ophthalmology symposiumThe University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and Department of Ophthalmology will host the 2016 Annual Clinical and Research Symposium on May 13-14 at the Westin Birmingham.

    Participants will be able to identify approaches to common oculoplastics problems

    encountered by most comprehensive ophthalmologists, understand the advantages and disadvantages of various treatment approaches to glaucoma, and more.

    The symposium will feature two keynote speakers, with Kenneth Cahill, M.D., of The Eye Center of Columbus, Ohio, and Steven Mansberger, M.D., vice chair and director of glaucoma services at the Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon.

    The Westin Birmingham is located at 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N., Birmingham, AL 35203. The room rate is $159. For reservations, please call (205) 307-3600 and say you are a participant of a UAB-sponsored event, or you can find a link to register online. The room rate is available as long as the supply of traditional rooms lasts.

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