Our faculty members are actively engaged in research projects in a varied range of disciplines.
Dr. Baker's research focuses on senescence, an irreversible cell cycle arrest that can be considered molecular aging and has implications in organism aging. Previous research has shown that the biolipid ceramide increases as cells age. She is interested in elucidating the mechanism of ceramide increase. She has discovered that sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) levels decrease as ceramide increases due to an inhibition of sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1) expression. Currently, Baker is focusing on the decrease in glucosyl ceramide species during cellular aging and the role that glucosylceramidase inhibition may play in that.
Kevin Jones is interested in developing methodologies for culture of Orchidaceae including development of new hybrids. He is particularly interested in development of more warmth tolerant varieties of Orchidaceae and developing hybrid orchids using the South Carolina native epiphytic species Epidendrum magnolia. To facilitate this he is also interested in developing new cultural methods for use in raising orchids from seed. He works with undergraduate students in his laboratory/greenhouse developing these methods and hybrids.
Dr. Song is currently studying the factors that switch a micro RNA target from being regulated by cleavage to being translationally regulated. Micro RNAs are small RNAs that have been studied extensively but were only discovered recently. They have been found to have profound effects in development and regulation in plants and animals. Dr. Song made a mutant population of Arabidopsis thaliana and screened individual plants for loss of translational regulation. She works with undergraduates in her laboratory characterizing and mapping the mutants.