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Research in this cluster focuses on:

  • Metabolic stress
  • DNA damage and repair
  • Biomarkers and biosensors for aging
  • Cancer and other diseases

Reactive oxygen species play a pivotal role in oxidative stress generated by environmental factors, drug therapy and metabolic disorders, with consequences to neural functions, cell viability and genomic stability.

Biomarkers and biosensors for exposure and response to the various stress and environmental factors are highly relevant for identifying and utilizing predictive biomarkers for human well-being and aging as well as for improving the treatment of cancer, neurological disorders, and other diseases.

Projects

  • Biospecimen collection

    The Biomolecular Sciences Institute has started a human subject Biospecimen Collection program at FIU to be used for study of predictive biomarkers in South Florida population groups. Initial samples that have been collected are glioblastoma tumors (an aggressive brain cancer) removed during surgery at the Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin Hospital. A BSI member is also coordinating the collection and research of tumor samples received from surgeries at Baptist Health South Florida. A philanthropic gift has provided the funding for a pilot study on predictive biomarkers for stratifying individual glioblastoma chemotherapy. Research related to predictive biomarkers for tumor progression and novel chemotherapy regimens has the potential to greatly improve treatment outcomes for local cancer patients.

  • Neurogenerative diseases

    Afflictions like Huntington's disease and Friedreich's ataxia cause serious symptoms that disrupt thousands of people's lives. Because these diseases stem from DNA problems, they cannot be prevented and have proven difficult to study and treat. Our researchers are fighting back by finding ways to test potential treatments for these neurodegenerative diseases, in the hopes of identifying existing drugs that could help and evaluating new therapies.

    More about our research on Neurogenerative Diseases 

  • Prostate cancer

    BSI researchers believe they can eradicate prostate cancer that returns in patients who have been treated by castration. By stopping DNA repair, a normally beneficial process that helps cancerous cells thrive, they can inhibit the tumor growth and the damage built up in the cancer cells, causing them to die and essentially killing the prostate cancer. Castration-resistant prostate cancer has no known cure, with 75 percent of patients dying within five years of onset. According to the researchers, it is likely that the compounds identified in this study may also be effective in curing other cancers and relieving the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases.