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Cell Biology Research Labs

  • Cell biological discovery relies on powerful microscopes. The Bewersdorf Lab develops the next generation of fluorescence super-resolution microscopy techniques.
  • Our research is driven by the desire to understand how the organelles of the endomembrane system are assembled and maintained.
  • A fundamental question in neuroscience is how synapses are assembled in living animals to produce behaviors and store memories. Our lab is focused on this question and uses the nematode C. elegans to examine the cell biological mechanisms by which synapses are precisely assembled during development, maintained during growth and modified during learning to store memories.
  • We study mechanisms underlying the dynamics and traffic of intracellular membranes, with emphasis on membrane transport reactions involved in neurotransmission. A major long-term goal is to advance the understanding of nervous system function in health and disease. We also exploit the unique structural and functional features of synapses to learn about general principles in membrane biology.
  • The Ferguson lab investigates how the endolysosomal pathway is adapted to meet the extreme demands of neurons and how neurological diseases arise when such demands are not met.
  • The long term goal of our research is to deduce the set of rules of cell fate control. We use three biological model systems to investigate this question. 1) Induced pluripotency (Yamanaka reprogramming). 2) Malignant transformation. 3) Hematopoietic stem cell fate choices. We wish to use the knowledge of this set of rules to help create desired cell types for cell replacement therapies and to eliminate the emergence of harmful cell types such as cancer.
  • Combining native mass spectrometry with cell biology, membrane biophysics, and chemical biology, we develop quantitative tools to understand membrane associated cell signaling with molecular and spatial resolution.
  • We develop DNA-nanostructure-based tools to understand nature’s engineering principles of molecular machineries and create artificial systems with similar structural/functional complexity.
  • Going Nuclear: The LusKing lab investigates the fundamental mechanisms that control nuclear structure, dynamics, and integrity in both physiological and pathological contexts.
  • Our laboratory is interested in understanding how cells detect misfolded proteins and prevent protein aggregation in the cell. Since cells are continually exposed to various stress stimuli, proteins have a high probability of mislocalization, misfolding, aggregating, and causing cellular toxicity and human diseases. To tackle these problems, eukaryotic cells have evolved sophisticated molecular machinery for detecting and eliminating of misfolded proteins in the cell.
  • The ability to capture and degrade specific cytoplasmic targets including protein aggregates, invading pathogens or even whole dysfunctional organelles forms the basis of the cell's response to disease.
  • Organelles within a cell differ in terms of the lipid composition of their surrounding membrane, and these differences help to establish organelle identity and thus allow for directional transport of materials between organelles. The focus of the lab and an emerging area of study is to understand the molecular mechanisms by which membrane composition is established and regulated.
  • We employ diverse biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological approaches to characterize the fundamental participants in intracellular transport processes.
  • How cells coordinate to form mechanically stable, functional three dimensional tissues and organisms is arguably the most interesting and important problem in 21st century biological sciences. It underlies not just normal development and physiology but also cancer and heart disease, the major killers in developed nations.
  • The Su Lab studies membrane remodeling and membrane-proximal signal transduction during immune responses. Using combined approaches of biochemical reconstitution, high resolution microscopy, and cell engineering, we aim to understand how spatial and temporal organization of membrane proteins and lipids regulates immune cell activation. This knowledge is leveraged for the development of new strategies and tools for cancer immunotherapy.
  • Pattern formation lab lead by Dr. Min Wu is investigating cortical oscillations and travelling waves and their roles in fundamental cellular processes including cell growth, cell division, and cell size control.