Michelle Duffourc, PhD
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Director, Molecular Biology Core Facility
Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology

Contact Information:
Carl A Jones Hall (VA Bldg 1) Room 146
Phone: 423-439-8864    
Core Facility: 423-439-8096                                           

Curriculum Vitae


Education and Professional Background:

B.S. in Chemistry,  University of South Alabama
Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences/Pharmacology, University of South Alabama
Postdoctoral training: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of South Alabama

Dr. Duffourc joined the faculty at Quillen College of Medicine in 1998 and is currently an Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Course Director for Medical Pharmacology and Director of the Molecular Biology Core Facility. She holds Professional Certifications in Targeted RNA Expression with MiSeq as well as Nextera XT preparation for next generation sequencing.  Dr. Duffourc has been honored with several awards, including the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Pharmacology Educator’s Award, Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Professor of the Year, Caduceus Club (medical students) Professor of the Year, the Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award in Basic Medical Sciences as well as the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award.

Research Interest:

• Control of gene expression in the CNS

• Molecular contributors to neurodegenerative disease

• Novel targets for the therapeutic treatment of neurodegenerative disease

My principle research interest is transcriptional control of neurotrophic factor expression in the central nervous system. Neurotrophic factors are essential regulators of CNS development, with roles in the early patterning of the CNS, determination of neural cell fate, and differentiation of astrocyte lineage cells. In particular, we examine the molecular mechanisms controlling the expression of bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7). BMP7 is a member of the TGF- beta superfamily originally identified for its ability to induce ectopic bone formation. More recently, numerous reports have indicated that BMP7 has neuroprotective activities and promotes functional recovery in animal models of stroke, traumatic injury and Parkinson’s disease. Further, we have we have found reduced expression of BMP7 in brain astrocytes of human subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD). Since MDD is associated with glial cell loss and BMP7 is gliatrophic, reduced BMP7 gene expression may also play role in the brain pathogenesis seen in MDD. Taken together, these studies demonstrate robust biological effects of BMP7 on the mature brain, with potential therapeutic roles in brain injury, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Hence, one goal of our research is to characterize the BMP7 promoter region in order to ultimately understand how BMP7 mediates repair and regeneration in the adult CNS

Key Laboratory Personnel:

Rhesa Dykes, Lab Coordinator

Active Research Funding:


PI: RDC Interdisciplinary Grant, “Bringing the Power of Whole Genome Analysis to ETSU”, $50,000 total direct costs, $50,000 matching funds.

Consultant:   NIH R01 AI095637 01, “Characterization of a novel host pathway that regulates chlamydial development”, 8/17/11- 7/31/2015, $1,123,754 direct, $826,425 indirect total costs.  As needed effort.  PI: Robert Schoborg, Ph.D.

Previous (past 5 years):

Co-I: NIH 4 R01 MH 46692, “Noradrenergic System in Depression”, 7/1/08 – 6/31/13,
$1,125, 000 total direct costs. 10% effort. PI: Greg Ordway, Ph.D.

Consultant: NIH 2R15 DK080488-02, “Mechanisms by which strength training ameliorates the Metabolic Syndrome”, 06/06/11 – 06/30/13, $387173 total costs. PI: Charles Stuart, M.D.

Consultant:   NIH R01 AI095637 01, “Characterization of a novel host pathway that regulates chlamydial development”, 8/17/11- 7/31/2015, $1,123,754 direct, $826,425 indirect total costs. As needed effort. PI: Robert Schoborg, Ph.D.

Consultant: NIH 1 R15 AI078373-01 “Can Chlamydial Infection Increase Host Mutation Frequency?”, 12/1/08–11/30/11, $150,000 total direct costs.  10% effort. PI: Robert Schoborg, Ph.D.

Co-I: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Glumatergic Signaling in the Locus Coeruleus in Depression and Suicide”, 7/1/08 – 6/30/10, $99,895 total direct costs, 5% effort. PI: Greg Ordway, Ph.D.

Consultant: American Heart Association Grant-in-Aid, “Neurotrophic factors mediate structural and functional remodeling of cardiac cholinergic neurons”, 7/1/08 – 6/30/10, $165,000 total direct costs. PI: Don Hoover, Ph.D.

Consultant: NIH 1R15 DK080488-01A1, “Mechanisms by which strength training ameliorates the Metabolic Syndrome”, 7/1/08 -6/30/10, $150,000 total direct costs. PI: Charles Stuart, M.D.

PI:       Research Development Committee Major Grant, East Tennessee State University, “Regulation of the Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein-7 Gene, a Novel Target for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disorders”, $9,000 total direct costs, 7/1/08 – 6/30/09.

PI:       Viromed, Inc. $2500. To provide molecular biology services. 2008-2009

PI:       Turner Biosystems,$24,000. Luminometer Grant Program, 2008.

PI:      Beckman Coulter Inc., $43,957.55 total direct costs, Genomics Educational/Research Matching Funds Grant, funds for a new Genetic Analyzer CEQ8000. 2006-2007.

PI:       Proteogenesis, Inc. $5,000. To provide molecular biology services. 2007-2008.

PI:       Bio-Rad, Inc. $900. To provide kits for educational outreach services. 2005 – 2007.

Selected Publications:

Ordway GA, Szebeni A, Chandley MJ, Stockmeier CA, Xiang L, Newton SS, Turecki G, Duffourc M, Zhu MY, Zhu H, and Szebeni K. (2012). Low gene expression of bone morphogenetic protein 7 in brainstem astrocytes in major depression. Int J of Neuropsychopharmacol 15(7):855-68; epub 2011 Sep6:1-14. PMID: 21896235 

Watkins C, Litchfield J, Song EK, Jaishankar GB, Misra N, Holla N, Duffourc M and Krishnaswamy G.(2011). Chronic Granulomatous Disease, the McLeod Phenotype and the Contiguous Gene Deletion Syndrome – A Review. Clin Mol Allergy. 2011 Nov 23;9:13. 

Fan Y, Huang J, Duffourc M, Kao R, Ordway G, Huang R, and Zhu M-Y. (2011). Transcription factor Phox2 upregulates expression of norepinephrine transporter and dopamine β-hydroxylase in adult rat brains. Neuroscience 192:37-53. Epub 2011 Jul 16. PMID: 21763404. 

Brown RW, Noel DM, Smith JJ, Smith ML, Huggins KN, Szebeni K, Szebeni A, Duffourc M, Chandley M, and Ordway GA. (2011) Eszopiclone facilitation of the antidepressant efficacy of fluoxetine using a social defeat stress model. Pharmacol Biochem Behav epub 2011 Jun 15. PMID: 21699914

Campbell SE, Rudder B, Phillips RB, Whaley SG, Stimmel JB, Leesnitzer LM, Lightner J, Dessus-Babus S, Duffourc M, Stone Wl, Newman RA, Yang P, Aggarwal BB, and Krishnan K. (2011) Gamma tocotrienol induces growth arrest through a novel pathway involving TGFb2 in prostate cancer. Free Radic Biol Med 50(10):1344-54. Epub 2011 Feb 16. PMID: 21335085 

Stuart CA, Howell ME, Baker JD, Dykes RJ, Duffourc MM, Ramsey MW, Stone MH. (2010) Cycle Training Increased GLUT4 and Activation of mTOR in Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers.  Med Sci Sports Exerc 42(1):96-106. 

Campbell SE, Musich PR, Whaley SG, Stimmel JB, Leesnitzer LM, Dessus-Babus S, Duffourc M, Stone W, Newman RA, Yang P, Krishnan K. (2009) Gamma Tocopherol Up regulates the Expression of 15-S-HETE and Induces Growth Arrest Through a PPAR γ-Dependent Mechanism in PC-3 Human Prostate Cancer Cells. Nutr Cancer 61(5):649-62. 

Ordway, G.A., Szebeni, A., Duffourc, M.M., Dessus-Babus, S. and Szebeni, K. (2009) Gene Expression Analyses of Neurons, Astrocytes and Oligodendrocytes Isolated by Laser Capture Microdissection from Human Brain: Detrimental Effects of Laboratory Humidity. J. Neuroscience Research. 87(11):2430-8. 

Vanover, J., Sun, J., Deka, S., Kintner, J., Duffourc, M. and R.V. Schoborg.(2008) Herpes Simplex Virus Co-infection InducedChlamydia trachomatis Persistence is not Mediated by any Known Persistence Inducer or Anti-chlamydial Pathway. Microbiology 154:971-978.  

Mabe, Abigail M., Hoard, Jennifer L., Duffourc, Michelle M., and Hoover, Donald B. (2006) Localization of cholinergic innervation and neurturin receptors in adult mouse heart and expression of the neurturin gene. Cell & Tissue Research 326(1):57-67


Related Links

Molecular Biology Core Facility