Category Archives: Uncategorized

Evolutionary Biology in the Clark Lab

237741730Welcome to the Clark Lab website. We study protein evolution using caspases as a model system. Caspases are integral proteases in cell development and in programmed cell death (apoptosis). The dysregulation of apoptosis is observed in a number of human diseases, from autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes), to neurodegenerative diseases, to cancer.

About 2.5 million deaths are registered in the US each year ( Heart disease and cancer account for about half of the deaths. The impact of chronic diseases (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer) on healthcare costs approaches $750 billion per year. Anticancer drugs are effective at inducing apoptosis by a variety of mechanisms because cancer cells are known to evade pro-apoptotic signals when compared to normal cells. Our goal is to understand how unique characteristics of caspase enzymes evolved to provide discrete cellular functions and how the enzymes are regulated under normal versus aberrant cellular conditions. Specific projects are described on the Research page.

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Catching up with recent graduates

I’ve been remiss in updating news on this site. I’m pleased to say that three members of the lab have graduated with PhD. Dr. Joseph Maciag, Dr. Melvin Thomas, and, most recently, Dr. Robert (Bob) Grinshpon. Congratulations to Joe, Melvin, and Bob, and thanks for the work they put into helping the lab move from North Carolina to Texas. Check out the Publications page to read their papers.

Dr. Joseph Maciag

Dr. Joseph Maciag

Joe is now a post-doc at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital






Dr. Melvin Thomas III

Dr. Melvin Thomas III


Melvin is now a post-doc at St. Jude







Dr. Robert (Bob) Grinshpon

Dr. Robert (Bob) Grinshpon



Bob will be looking for opportunities in industry after a tour of Europe

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Our statement to international staff and students

Dear Colleagues,

We consider that diversity is one of the major strengths of the Biology department. The community of faculty, staff, and students is inclusive and welcoming to everyone, regardless of nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We are committed to maintaining our diversity and fostering a supportive, collegial, and collaborative environment where everyone recognizes their importance as part of our team. We understand that our international students could have chosen to attend graduate programs anywhere in the world, but they chose to move here to UTA. We want to affirm that we stand with them in this time of uncertainty, and we will help in any way that we can to assist them in navigating the new policies. Our doors are always open to hear your concerns.


Clay Clark, Professor and Chair

Laura Mydlarz, Associate Professor and Associate Chair

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UTA Maverick Speaker Series Announced

The University of Texas at Arlington has announced five speakers in the Maverick Speaker Series for the 2015-2016 academic year.


Mia Farrow – “What Falls Away: One Woman’s Journey to Fulfillment” Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, 7:30 p.m. Texas Hall – Tickets available Sept. 8, 2015

Daymond John – “Daymond John on Shark Tank Entrepreneurship” Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, 7:30 p.m. College Park Center – Tickets available Oct. 6, 2015

Ron Paul – “Liberty Defined: The Future of Freedom” Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Texas Hall – Tickets available Jan. 5, 2016

Donna Brazile – “Donna Brazile: Politics and Beyond” Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Texas Hall – Tickets available Jan. 19,

Jane Goodall – “Gombe and Beyond: An Evening with Dr. Jane Goodall” Thursday, March 31, 2016, 7:30 p.m. College Park Center – Tickets available March 1, 2016

More information is available here.

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A New Blog Coming Soon!

This site will be up and running soon. Check back in July for blogs on Biochemical and Biological research, among other things.

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