Robert   Gilkerson  Ph.D.

Assistant Professor  

Office: ESCNE 2.320
Phone: (956) 665-7838
Email: robert.gilkerson@utrgv.edu

Robert Gilkerson Ph.D.

My research focuses on 1) the interaction of mitochondrial structural dynamics and bioenergetic function, and 2) cellular homeostais on nanofibers.





Selected Publications


  • N Vazquez, Luis Sanchez, R Marks, Ed Martinez, V Fanniel, A Lopez, A Salinas, Itza Flores, J Hirschmann, Robert Gilkerson, Erin Schuenzel, Robert Dearth, Reginald Halaby, W Innis-Whitehouse, and Megan Keniry. "A protocol for custom CRISPR Cas9 donor vector construction to truncate genes in mammalian cells using pcDNA3 backbone.," BMC molecular biology 19, no. 1 (March 2018): 3.

  • Edith Jones, Norma Gaytan, Iraselia Garcia, Alan Herrera, Manuel Ramos, Divya Agarwala, Maahrose Rana, Wendy Innis, Erin Schuenzel, and Robert Gilkerson. "A threshold of transmembrane potential is required for mitochondrial dynamic balance mediated by DRP1 and OMA1.," Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 74, no. 7 (April (2nd Quarter/Spring) 2017): 1347-1363.

  • Iraselia Garcia, Edith Jones, Manuel Ramos, Wendy Innis, and Robert Gilkerson. "The little big genome: the organization of mitochondrial DNA.," Frontiers in Bioscience 22, (January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2017): 710-721.

  • Robert Gilkerson "Mitochondrial DNA damage and loss in diabetes," Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews (June 2016).

  • Karen Lozano, Robert Gilkerson, and Luis Materon. "Development of tannic acid/chitosan/pullulan composite nanofibers from aqueous solution for potential applications as wound dressing," Carbohydrate Polymers 115, (2015): 16-24.

  • Alan Herrera, Iraselia Garcia, Gaytan Norma, Jones Edith, Maldonado Alicia, and Robert Gilkerson. "Endangered species: mitochondrial DNA loss as a mechanism of human disease," Frontiers in Bioscience 7, (June 2015): 109-124.

  • Karen Lozano, Robert Gilkerson, and Luis Materon. "Large-scale production of a ternary composite nanofiber membrane for wound dressing applications," Journal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers 29, no. 6 (2014): 646-660.

  • Robert Gilkerson, Luis Materon, "Two roads converging: mitochondria and inflammatory signaling," J. Clin. Immunol. Immunother. 1, no. 1 (September 2014): 1-6.

  • Robert Gilkerson, Liliana Bravo, Iraselia Garcia, Norma Gaytan, Alan Herrera, Alicia Maldonado, and Brandi Quintanilla. "The mitochondrial nucleoid: Integrating mitochondrial DNA into cellular homeostasis," Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 5, no. 5 (May 2013): 1-9.

  • R De Vries, Robert Gilkerson, S Przedborski, and E Schon. "Mitophagy in cells carrying mtDNA mutations: being sick is not enough," Autophagy (December 2012).



Selected Grants and Fellowships


  • Karen Lozano. UTRGV-UMN Partnership for Fostering Innovation by Bridging Excellence in Research and Student Success, National Science Foundation, $3,000,000.00 (September 2015 - August 2020)

  • Robert Gilkerson. Interaction of mitochondrial fusion and transmembrane potential in diabetic cardiovascular damage, National Institutes of Health, $435,900.00 (March 1, 2016 - February 29, 2020)

  • Megan Keniry. STEP 2 Research Success (USDA-HSI 2015-38422-24061), USDA, $1,000,000.00 (September 1, 2015 - August 31, 2019)

  • Robert Gilkerson. Mitochondrial damage and insulin resistance: preventive therapeutics and clinical biomarkers, Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation, $20,000.00 (March 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015)

  • Robert Gilkerson. Therapeutic approaches in cell models of mitochondrial disease, NIH , (2010 - 2015)

  • Robert Gilkerson. Loss of mitochondrial DNA as an early indicator of insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation, $10,000.00 (January 1, 2014 - March 1, 2015)

  • Robert Gilkerson. Mitochondrial DNA and associated proteins as biomarkers of Type 2 diabetes in the Rio Grande Valley, Faculty Research Council, $10,000.00 (January 3, 2013 - August 31, 2013)

  • Robert Gilkerson. Therapeutic approaches in models of mitochondrial disease, (2004 - 2009)

  • Robert Gilkerson. MtDNA nucleoids: organization and dynamics- Muscular Dystrophy Assoc. Development Grant 3869, Muscular Dystrophy Association, (2005 - 2008)



Selected Presentations


  • Briana Vargas, Robert Gilkerson, and Christopher Vitek. "Feeding Behavior and Host Choice in Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti," 65th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Entomological Society of American, Denver, CO (November 2017)

  • Robert Gilkerson, Edith Jones, Garcia Iraselia, Manuel Ramos, and Wendy Innis. "Interaction of mitochondrial fission/fusion dynamics and transmembrane potential in glycolytic versus oxidative cell settings.," Keystone Symposium on Mitochondria, Metabolism, and Heart, Keystone Symposia, Santa Fe, NM (May 2017)

  • Briana Vargas, Robert Gilkerson, and Christopher Vitek. "Blood-feeding behavior comparison between Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus," Engaged Scholar Symposium, UTRGV, Edinburg, TX (April 2017)

  • Megan Keniry, Alma Lopez, Eduardo Martinez, Andrea Salinas, Itzel Flores, Victor Fanniel, Lilia Sanchez, Martin Holguin, Neftali Vazquez, Rebecca Marks, Jesse Hirschmann, Robert Gilkerson, and Wendy Innis. "FOXO3 Impacts SOX2 Expression," USDA P.I. Meeting , USDA, Albuquerque (February 2017)

  • Eduardo Martinez, Andrea Salinas, Itzel Flores, Victor Fanniel, Lilia Sanchez, Alma Lopez, Martin Holguin, Neftali Vazquez, Rebecca Marks, Jesse Hirschmann, Robert Gilkerson, Wendy Innis, and Megan Keniry. "Investigating Novel Roles for FOXO factors in pten-null Cancer Cells," American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting, ASCB, San Fransisco, CA (December 2016)

  • Manuel Ramos, Edith Jones, Iraselia Garcia, Wendy Innis, and Robert Gilkerson. "Mitochondrial fission/fusion requires a strict threshold of transmembrane potential.," SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference, Long Beach, CA (October 2016)

  • Esteban Garcia, Karen Baylon, Astrid Rodriguez, Cristobal Rodriguez, Karen Lozano, and Robert Gilkerson. "TNF-α induces mitochondrial fragmentation in nanofiber grown 3T3 fibroblasts. ," SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference, Long Beach, CA (October 2016)

  • Robert Gilkerson. "Mitochondrial dynamic balance is mediated by a threshold of transmembrane potential," Keystone Symposium on New Therapeutics for Diabetes and Obesity, La Jolla, CA (April 2016)

  • Andrea Salinas, Itzel Flores, Eduardo Martinez, Victor Fanniel, Neftali Vazquez, Rebecca Marks, Jesse Hirschmann, Cristina Rodriguez, Wendy Innis, Robert Gilkerson, and Megan Keniry. "Investigating FOXO Feedback Mechanisms on the PI3K Pathway in Cancer," 2016 7th Annual PACE Bioethics, UTRGV, Edinburg, TX (April 2016)

  • Itzel Flores, Andrea Salinas, Eduardo Martinez, Victor Fanniel, Neftali Vazquez, Rebecca Marks, Jesse Hirschmann, Cristina Rodriguez, Wendy Innis, Robert Gilkerson, Megan Keniry, "Investigating Impact of FOXO3 on Mitochondrial Function and Cell Cycle in Cancer," 2016 7th Annual PACE Bioethics, UTRGV, Edinburg, TX (April 2016)

Current Courses

BIOL 4201 03 - Biology Problems I:
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Course Evaluations
Textbooks
CLSC 4315 A - Molec Genetics & Molec Diag:
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Textbooks
BIOL 4202 C - Biology Problems II:
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BIOL 4202 03 - Biology Problems II:
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BIOL 2402 01 - Anatomy & Physiology II:
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Textbooks
BIOL 4201 C - Biology Problems I:
Syllabus
Course Evaluations
Textbooks
CLSC 4315 01 - Molec Genetics & Molec Diag:
Syllabus
Course Evaluations
Textbooks

Previous Courses