Dr. Cleo Hughes Darden

Title: 
Chairperson and Associate Professor of Biology
Office Location: 
Spencer Hall G12
Phone: 
(443) 885-4470
Email: 
cleo.hughesdarden@morgan.edu
Education:

Post-Graduate Certificate: Academic Leadership, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2015
Ph.D. Microbial Physiology and Molecular Biology, Clark Atlanta University, 1991
B.S. Biology, Morgan State University, 1986

Education:

Post-Graduate Certificate: Academic Leadership, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2015
Ph.D. Microbial Physiology and Molecular Biology, Clark Atlanta University, 1991
B.S. Biology, Morgan State University, 1986

Research Interests:

  • Cell signaling
  • Gene expression
  • Genomic research
  • Science education research
  • Student Research Training

Dr. Hughes Darden research laboratory focused in the areas of Plant Molecular biology, Cellular biology, Gene Expression and Cell Signaling. More specifically, the research projects spanned two different areas, plant amino acid biosynthesis and neural melanocortin signaling in hypertension and stress induced by sleep deprivation. The goals of these projects were to determine how the plant asparagine synthetase system functioned at the DNA and protein levels and its' relationship in nitrogen utilization throughout the soybean plant and to identify the regulatory mechanisms that control the biosynthesis of the essential amino acid, methionine. Further to understand the molecular mechanisms that result in changes in the cardiovascular system during stress induced by hypertension and by sleep deprivation.


Dr. Hughes Darden served as the Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) Program Director at Morgan State University from 2006-2015. A total of 34 students completed the program with 85% of the students either completed the MS degree, currently enrolled in MS, MD/Ph.D., and Ph.D. programs or employed in the health and science-related jobs. More recently, Dr. Hughes Darden was appointed as the Coordinator for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program whose main goal is to increase underrepresented students who complete baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), along with increasing the number of underrepresented students who successfully enter and complete graduate programs. She is also the Co-Director of the Student Training Core for the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity/ A Student-Centered Entrepreneurship Development (BUILD/ASCEND) program which has a similar goal but focuses on underrepresented students who are interested in biomedical and behavioral sciences.


As Chairperson of the Department of Biology, currently, Dr. Hughes Darden is focused on student success, student research training, improving instructional delivery and the science curriculum by implementing Vision and Change core concepts and competencies. The department participated in a Departmental assessment for the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE). Other departmental initiatives: Biol 101 Course redesign, Biol 105/106 and Biol 310 redesign. She actively participated in programs, that promote increased student engagement through active learning, and the infusion of computation and cultural competency into STEM courses through the Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (Morgan TIDES) program which is an interdisciplinary initiative funded by AAC&U and the Hemsley foundation.

Selected Publications:

  • Jumoke Ladeji-Osias, Christine Hohmann&, Stella Hargett@, Lisa Brown&, Cleo Hughes-Darden&, and Michel Reece* (2015) The Impact of Undergraduate Research in STEM at Morgan State University on the Production of Doctoral Degrees in Engineering and the Sciences. Departments of *Electrical Engineering, &Biology, @Sociology, Morgan State University, IN: Diversity in Higher Education; Vol 17; edited by Jeton McClinton et al.; ISBN:978-1-78560-159-0D. 
  • Nyan DC, Anbazhagan R, Hughes-Darden CA, Wachira SJ. (2008) Endosomal colocalization of melanocortin-3 receptor and beta-arrestins in CAD cells with altered modification of AKT/PKB. Neuropeptides 42: 355-366.
  • Wachira, S.J. Hughes-Darden, C.A., Nicholas, H.B., Taylor, C.V., and T. Joan Robinson (2004) Neural Melanocortin receptors are differentially expressed and regulated by stress in rat hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Cellular and Molecular Biology Journal 50:703-713.
  • Wachira, S.J. Hughes-Darden, C.A., Taylor, C.V., Ochillo, R. and T. Joan Robinson (2003) Evidence for the interaction of protein kinase C and melanocortin 3-receptor signaling pathways. Neuropeptides 37:201-210.
  • Hughes-Darden, C.A., Wachira, S.J., Denaro, Frank, Taylor, C.V., *Brunson, K.J., Ochillo, R.F. and Robinson, T.J. (2001) Expression and distribution of protein kinase C isozymes in brain tissue of spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHR) Cellular and Molecular Biology Journal 47:1077-1088.
  • Hughes-Darden, C.A., Wachira, S.J., Batta, E., Ochillo, R.F. and Robinson, T.J. (2001) Effects of gamma-2 melanocyte-stimulating hormone on protein kinase C activity and expression in spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHR) Cellular and Molecular Biology Journal 47:1069-1075.