Leland J. Cseke is an associate research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, where he works in conjunction with the Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory to determine the molecular mechanisms of keystone species in forest ecosystem responses to environmental changes. In addition, Dr. Cseke is working with the United States Department of Agriculture to develop cost-effective molecular methods for plant species identification and has helped to develop the national guidelines for plant molecular identification. Other projects include the metabolic engineering of Jatropha curcas plants for the improvement of biodiesel with emphasis on transcriptional regulators that help to control oil biosynthesis.
Ara Kirakosyan is an associate professor of biology at Yerevan State University, Armenia, and is currently a research scientist at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kirakosyan's primary research areas include the impact of phytopharmaceuticals on prevention of heart failure, challenges and pitfalls in antioxidant research, and mechanisms of synergistic action of bioactive medicinal compounds at target sites. His research on phytochemicals and antioxidants in foodstuffs has direct implications for the health industry, specifically in the area of cardiovascular disease. He is also interested in plant biotechnology research to produce enhanced levels of medicinally important, value-added secondary metabolites
Peter B. Kaufman is currently professor emeritus of biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and research scientist
with the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine (UMIM) program. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is also past president of the Michigan Botanical Club and past chairman of the Michigan Natural Areas Council. He served as secretary-treasurer of the American Society of Gravitational and Space Biology (ASGSB) and was the recipient of ASGSB's Orr Reynolds Distinguished Service Award. He is currently doing research on natural products of medicinal value in plants with support from UMIM, the National Institutes of Health, Xylomed Research, Denali BioTechnologies, LLC, and the Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) of Michigan.
Margaret V. Westfall is an associate professor of surgery and molecular and integrative physiology and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her research is focused on heart failure and includes studies on protein kinase C modulation of contractile function; the role of the thin filament molecular switch protein, troponin I, in modulating contractile function; and analysis of proteomic expression in end stage heart failure. Dr. Westfall's research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. She currently serves on the editorial board for the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology and the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.
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