Meet Our Faculty

Biological Sciences

Braunhut-Susan-tnProfessor Susan Braunhut
Explores radiation biology and the development of new synthetic compounds to protect normal tissue during therapeutic radiotherapy, accidental or malicious human exposure to neutron-gamma radiation. Read Braunhut's full bio.

Associate Professor Peter Gaines
Associate Professor Gaines obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Yale University, and was an Associate Research Scientist in the Hematology Department at Yale Medical School prior to joining the Dept. of Biological Sciences at UMass Lowell. His research focuses on analyzing molecular signaling pathways that control blood cell differentiation, in particular those that are aberrantly active or blocked in leukemic cells. His training includes the use of multiple molecular and physiologic analyses of blood cell differentiation, proliferation and function. His research utilizes cell culture models ranging from primary blood cells, ex vivo manipulated bone marrow-derived stem cells, immortalized leukemic cell lines and transformed fibroblasts. Many of the drugs used to treat or manipulate bone marrow-derived cell lines are pharmaceutical agents designed to promote differentiation, and therefore Gaines’ research and courses incorporate multiple concepts on the testing of pharmaceutical agents and growth factor derivatives. He also collaborates with multiple faculty members in the Departments of Chemistry, Plastics Engineering, Physics and Work Environment. Gaines’ laboratory uses cell culture technologies to test novel nanometer-sized products (e.g. hydrogels, nanospheres, quantum dot-labeled antibodies, etc), and environmentally hazardous nanoparticles.

Garb-Jessica-tnAssistant Professor Jessica Garb
Focuses on characterization of spider silks and venoms with genomics tools. Venom toxins have applications as drug leads and cellular probes. Spider silks have superior toughness, are lightweight and biodegradable, making them outstanding biomaterials for biomedical applications. Read Garb's full bio.

Guo-Hwai-Chen-tnProfessor Hwai-Chen Guo
Leads structural and translational studies of critical enzymes, including the aminopeptidases involved in antigen processing and immunity, the reverse transcriptase required for hepatitis B virus infection, and glycosylasparaginase (GA) involved in an inherited lysosomal storage disorder aspartylglucosaminuria. Read Guo's full bio.

Associate Professor Garth Hall
Associate Professor Hall received his Ph.D. in Biology at Yale University and was a Research Associate at Harvard Medical School and Research Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania prior to joining the Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. His research interest and expertise is in the cell biology of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the cytoskeletal protein tau a group that includes Alzheimer’s Disease. He has designed, implemented and published studies using pharmacological manipulation of tau-induced neurodegeneration in in situ cellular and transgenic model systems both as part of his basic research program and in collaboration with biopharmaceutical firms. Hall teaches Physiology and Neurobiology to Biology undergraduates at UMass Lowell. His courses cover areas directly relevant to pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and various aspects of neuropharmacology, including the solubility of endocrine and neuronal receptor ligands, the physiological basis of renal threshold and synaptic physiology.
Nugent-Matthew-tnProfessor Matthew Nugent

Focuses on how heparin and heparan sulfate control growth factor binding and activity, and how these processes influence human disease; applies quantitative approaches to investigate how molecular interactions control cell function. Read Nugent's full bio.

Professor Thomas Shea

Professor Shea’s research is based upon development and degeneration of the nervous system. This includes studies from cell cultures, transgenic mouse models and clinical studies. His studies with cultures and mice have utilized a number of pharmacological inhibitors of signal transduction pathways that are widely applicable to multiple aspects of nervous system health, and are readily amenable to studies of novel pharmacological agents and methodologies. Over 10 doctoral students have completed thesis in these areas.  His clinical studies, conducted in collaboration with UMass Lowell’s Nursing and Clinical Laboratory Sciences Departments, have been thus far confined to nutritional supplements, but these supplements are designed to augment pharmacological approaches; doctoral students also completed thesis work in these clinical trials. His group studies in detail promotion of nervous system development (which prevents mental retardation and/or paralysis), Alzheimer's disease and motor neuron disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).