Picture of Besa Xhabija

Besa Xhabija

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Dr. Xhabija joined the Department of Natural Sciences in September 2022 as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. Her laboratory aims to understand the effects of toxins on early embryonic development utilizing embryonic stem cells because they provide a new tool and opportunity to investigate the impact of environmental exposures and their interactions with genetic factors on human development and health. To fully realize these potentials, she believes that it is important to understand the molecular basis of the defining characteristic of the stem cells. More specifically, she is interested in investigating how stem cells play a role in shaping the expression program during development and how mechanisms of self-renewal and differentiation during mammalian development regulate cellular fate decisions.

Rudy J. Richardson

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Applications of computational tools for molecular modeling (Discovery Studio, ICM-Pro, MOE, and YASARA) and data science (ADMET Predictor, KNIME, Origin Pro, Prism, Python, and R) to computational toxicology, drug discovery, homology modeling, molecular dynamics, and protein structure/function prediction. Current special interests include therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and motor neuron diseases) and infectious diseases (COVID-19).

3D alignment of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) from mouse (magenta) and electric eel (gray) showing the amino acid residues of the catalytic triad.