Cellular Imaging and Biophysics Faculty

  • Julien Berro

    Associate Professor Term

    Research Interests
    Biophysics; Cell Biology; Cytoskeleton; Endocytosis; Kinetics; Microscopy; Microscopy, Fluorescence; Models, Theoretical; Schizosaccharomyces; Nonlinear Dynamics; Microscopy, Confocal; Mechanics; Systems Biology; Mathematical Concepts; Machine Learning; Single Molecule Imaging

    Julien Berro was initially trained in Applied Mathematics, Physics and Computer Sciences at the Institut National Polytechnique of Grenoble, France. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mathematical Modeling in Biology at Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France, where he worked with Jean-Louis Martiel and Laurent Blanchoin on mathematical models for actin filament biochemistry and mechanics. After a brief tenure as an assistant professor in the department of Mathematics at Université Claude Bernard, Lyon, France, he decided to further his training by learning cell biology and quantitative microscopy in the laboratory of Tom Pollard at Yale University. Since he started his own laboratory in 2013, he has combined experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches to uncover the mechanisms of molecular machineries that produce forces in the cell, with a particular focus on the actin cytoskeleton and endocytosis.

  • Joerg Bewersdorf

    Professor of Cell Biology and of Biomedical Engineering

    Research Interests
    Cell Nucleus; Endoplasmic Reticulum; Microscopy, Fluorescence; Microscopy, Confocal; Cellular Structures

    Joerg Bewersdorf is a Professor of Cell Biology and of Biomedical Engineering at Yale University. He received his Master's degree (Dipl. Phys., 1998) and his doctoral degree in physics (Dr. rer. nat., 2002) training with Dr. Stefan W. Hell at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany. After 4 years at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, he relocated his research group to Yale University in 2009. An optical physicist/biophysicist by training, Dr. Bewersdorf has been a long-time contributor to the field of super-resolution light microscopy development and the application of these techniques to cell biological questions.

  • Jonathan Bogan

    Associate Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) and of Cell Biology

    Research Interests
    Cell Biology; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2; Endocrinology; Glucose; Metabolic Diseases; Protein Transport
  • Daniel Alfonso Colón-Ramos

    Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology; Associate Professor of Neuroscience

    Research Interests
    Behavior; Brain; Cell Biology; Neurons

    Daniel Colón-Ramos was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He completed his B.A. at Harvard University, his PhD in the lab of Dr. Sally Kornbluth at Duke University and was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Kang Shen at Stanford University. The Colón-Ramos lab is interested in how synapses are precisely assembled to build the neuronal architecture that underlies behavior. To address this, they developed tools in the thermotaxis circuit of C. elegans. Their system enables unbiased genetic screens to identify novel pathways that instruct synaptogenesis in vivo, and single-cell manipulation of these pathways to understand how they influence behavior. As mechanisms underlying synapse structure and function are conserved, the research program seeks to enhance our understanding of synaptic cell biology in higher organisms, which may be important for disease.

  • Pietro De Camilli

    John Klingenstein Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Cell Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Chair, Department of Neuroscience; Director, Kavli Institute for Neuroscience and Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair (CNNR)

    Research Interests
    Alzheimer Disease; Cell Membrane; Cell Biology; Endocytosis; Neurosciences; Parkinson Disease; Synapses; Lipid Metabolism; Neuroacanthocytosis

    A native of Italy, De Camilli studied at the Liceo Manzoni in Milan, earned his M.D. degree from the University of Milano in 1972 and obtained a postgraduate degree in medical endocrinology from the University of Pavia in Italy. He was a postdoctoral fellow (1978-79) with Paul Greengard in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale, and subsequently an assistant professor in the Yale Section of Cell Biology. Following a return of a few years to Milan, he moved back to Yale in the late 1980s, where he is now John Klingenstein Professor of Neuroscience. He became an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1992. From 1997 to 2000 he served as Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and since 2005 he is Founding Director of the Yale Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair. Since 2015, he serves as Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience.

    The De Camilli lab is interested in the cell biology of neuronal synapses. His studies on synaptic vesicle dynamics have contributed to the general fields of exocytosis and endocytosis. His research has provided insight into mechanisms of membrane fission and has revealed ways through which membrane-associated proteins can generate, sense and stabilize lipid bilayer curvature. His discovery and characterization of the role of phosphoinositide metabolism in the control of endocytosis have broad implications in the fields of phospholipid signaling and of membrane traffic. Building on this work, he has recently become interested in the role of membrane contact sites in the control of the homeostasis of bilayer lipids. His studies of synapses have also contributed to the elucidation of pathogenetic mechanisms of human diseases. 

  • Kallol Gupta

    Assistant Professor of Cell Biology

    Research Interests
    Biophysics; Cell Membrane; Cell Membrane Permeability; Mass Spectrometry; Membrane Transport Proteins; Chemicals and Drugs

    Initially trained as a chemist, I was introduced to the world of biology through the aquatic route – I studied toxins from deep sea marine cone snails off the coast of India. Whilst deconstructing the venom library I became fascinated by two things - the prowess of mass spectrometric approaches in analysing complex samples and the world of membrane proteins to which these toxins bind, a world which is omnipresent in regulating cellular physiology. 

    In 2013 I moved to the University of Oxford as a Fellow of the 1851 Royal Commission. Here my interests converged in the study of membrane protein biology through native mass spectrometry. My work in Oxford led to development of novel native mass spectrometry platforms that, for the first time, showed how specific lipid bindings can act as molecular glue to hold oligomeric assemblies of membrane proteins. 

    In the Fall of 2018, I crossed the pond to start my own lab in Yale. Combining native mass spectrometry with an array of other experimental and computational approaches, our lab’s interest is to provide a discovery platform which provides a top down deconstructive view of the various novel transient membrane, and membrane associated multiprotein complexes formed during the progression of different cellular signalling pathways.

  • Michael Nathanson

    Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases) and Professor of Cell Biology; Director, Yale Liver Center; Director, Center for Cell and Molecular Imaging

    Research Interests
    Cell Nucleus; Cell Biology; Digestive System Diseases; Liver; Calcium Signaling; Hepatocytes
    Clinical Interests
    Hepatitis; Liver Diseases
  • Thomas Pollard

    Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

    Research Interests
    Cell Biology; Molecular Biology; Myosins; Cytokinesis

    A graduate of Pomona College, Dr. Thomas D. Pollard, earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He taught at Harvard Medical School 1972-78 and joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as the Bayard Halsted Professor and founding director of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy in 1977. At Johns Hopkins, was the founding director of a graduate program in cellular and molecular medicine and was honored with teaching awards seven times.

    He joined the Salk Institute as President in 1996. He has also served as adjunct professor at the University of California at San Diego until he moved to Yale University in 2001. He has had a long affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Pollard was president of both the American Society for Cell Biology and the Biophysical Society, and on behalf of these organizations he was active politically in support of funding for biomedical research.

    He chaired the Commission on Life Sciences at the National Research Council 1993-98. Honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, the Rosensteil Medical Research Award from Brandeis University with James Spudich of Stanford University (1996), the Howard T. Ricketts Award from the University of Chicago (2000), the E.B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology (2004) and the Gairdner International Award in Biomedical Sciences (2006).

    His other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MERIT Award from the National Institute of General Medical Science, a Public Service Award from the Biophysical Society and a Winston Churchill Overseas Fellowship from Churchill College in Cambridge, England. Pollard has authored or coauthored more than 400 scientific papers and scholarly articles on his work.

  • Karin Reinisch

    David W. Wallace Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Director of Graduate Studies

    PhD in chemistry, under the direction of William N. Lipscomb. Post-doc under the direction of Stephen C. Harrison, Harvard University (1995-2001). Faculty at Yale since 2001.

  • James Rothman

    Sterling Professor of Cell Biology and Professor of Chemistry; Chairman, Department of Cell Biology; Director, Nanobiology Institute

    Research Interests
    Biochemistry; Biophysics; Chemistry; Cell Biology; Golgi Apparatus; Membrane Fusion; Synaptic Transmission; Vesicular Transport Proteins

    Professor James Rothman, the Sterling Professor of Cell Biology at Yale University, is one of the world's most distinguished biochemists and cell biologists. He is Chairman of the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology and is the Director and founder of the Nanobiology Institute on Yale’s new West Campus. Rothman graduated from Yale College (1971) where he studied physics. He received his Ph.D. degree in biological chemistry from Harvard (1976) and was a student at Harvard Medical School from 1971 to 1973. From 1976 to 1978, he completed a fellowship in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1978 to 1988, he was a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University. Dr. Rothman was the E.R. Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University (1988-1991). He founded and chaired the Department of Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (1991-2004), where he held the Paul A. Marks Chair and served as Vice-Chairman of Sloan-Kettering. Prior to coming to Yale in 2008, Dr. Rothman was the Wu Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, and Director of Columbia University’s Sulzberger Genome Center.

    Professor Rothman discovered key molecular machinery responsible for transfer of materials among compartments within cells, providing the conceptual framework for understanding such diverse and important processes as the release of insulin into the blood, communication between nerve cells in the brain, and the entry of viruses to infect cells. Numerous kinds of tiny membrane-enveloped vesicles ferry packets of enclosed cargo. Each type of vesicle must deliver its specialized cargo to the correct destination among the maze of distinct compartments that populate the cytoplasm of a complex animal cell. The delivery process, termed membrane fusion, is fundamental for physiology and medicine, as pathology in this process can cause metabolic, neuropsychiatric and other diseases. Rothman reconstituted vesicle budding and fusion in a cell-free system (1984) and discovered the complex of SNARE proteins (1993) which mediates membrane fusion and affords it specificity. He also uncovered the GTPase-switch mechanism which controls coated vesicle budding in the cell (1991).

    Rothman has also contributed to other fields. Together with Gero Miesenbock, he showed how patterns of synaptic activity in neural networks could be recorded optically using encoded synapto-pHlourins (1998). He discovered that hsp70’s are ATPases (1986) and peptide binding proteins (1989), thereby revealing how these molecular chaperones cycle on and off proteins to control their folding/unfolding. On theoretical grounds, he proposed (1981) that the role of the Golgi is to iteratively purify proteins, using its cisternae like plates in a distillation tower, an idea now implicit in all models of Golgi dynamics; and he provided the first evidence of sequential processing and vectorial transport across the stack (1981-1985). Rothman’s current research concerns the biophysics of membrane fusion and its regulation in exocytosis; the dynamics of the Golgi apparatus at super-resolution; and the use of bio-inspired design in nanotechnology.

    Dr. Rothman has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his work on vesicle trafficking and membrane fusion, including the King Faisal International Prize for Science (1996), the Gairdner Foundation International Award (1996), the Lounsbery Award of the National Academy of Sciences (1997), the Heineken Foundation Prize of the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (2000), the Louisa Gross Horwitz prize of Columbia University (2002), the Lasker Basic Science Award (2002), the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience (2010), the Massry Prize (2010),  the EB. Wilson Medal (2010) and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2013). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1993) and its Institute of Medicine (1995), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1994).

  • Xiaolei Su

    Assistant Professor of Cell Biology

    Dr. Xiaolei Su obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He worked on the regulation of microtubule dynamics by molecular motors under the mentorship of David Pellman. Then he joined Ron Vale's Lab at UCSF as a postdoc fellow. His work led to the discovery that phase separation of membrane-bound proteins can promote T cell activation. As an assistant professor at Yale, Dr. Su is interested in exploring membrane remodeling and membrane-proximal signal transduction during immune responses. Part of the work involves developing new chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for improved cancer immunotherapy.   

  • Derek Toomre

    Professor of Cell Biology; Director of the YALE 'CINEMA' Laboratory (Cellular Imaging using New Microscopy Approaches)

    Research Interests
    Biology; Biophysics; Biotechnology; Chemistry; Nanotechnology; Optics and Photonics
  • Shaul Yogev

    Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and of Cell Biology

    Research Interests
    Axonal Transport; Cell Biology; Cytoskeleton; Neurons; Synapses; Motor Neuron Disease

    Shaul got his BSc and MSc from Paris VII University in France, and his PhD from the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where he studied EGFR signaling with Benny Shilo. As a postdoc with Kang Shen at Stanford he developed imaging tools that enable using forward genetic approaches to study neuronal microtubules and axonal transport in live animals with single cell resolution.

    The lab is interested in neuronal cell biology. We want to understand how the architecture of the neuronal cytoskeleton is established and how it supports polarized traffic in order to maintain structures such as synapses, which are found at a large distance from the cell body, over the lifetime of a neuron.

  • Yongli Zhang

    Associate Professor in Cell Biology

    Research Interests
    Exocytosis; Membrane Fusion; Synaptic Transmission; Protein Folding; Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly; SNARE Proteins; Synaptotagmins; Munc18 Proteins; Optical Tweezers

    Ph.D. Yale University, 2003

    Research interest: Single-molecule biophysics and biochemistry

    M.S. Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, 1997

    Research interest: Theoretical biophysics