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Michael Edidin Lab
The Michael Edidin Lab studies membrane dynamics and organization in cells from lymphocytes to epithelial cells using biochemistry, biophysics (especially fluorescence methods), cell biology, biochemistry and immunology. We are interested in transplantation immunology, particularly in the cell biology of class I MHC molecules, and are working to understand the relationship between plasma membrane biophysics and antigen presentation by MHC molecules. We are currently studying the clustering of T cell receptors for the antigen TCR.
The Miho Iijima Laboratory works to make a further connection between cells' signaling events and directional movement. Our researchers have identified 17 new PH domain-containing proteins in addition to 10 previously known genes in the Dictyostelium cDNA and genome database. Five of these genes contain both the Dbl and the PH domains, suggesting these proteins are involved in actin polymerization. A PTEN homologue has also been identified in Dictyostelium that is highly conserved with the human gene. We are disrupting all of these genes and studying their roles in chemotaxis.
The mission and interest of the neuroengineering and Biomedical Instrumentation Lab is to develop novel instrumentation and technologies to study the brain at several levels--from single cell to the whole brain--with the goal of translating the work into practical research and clinical applications.
Our personnel include diverse, independent-minded and entrepreneurial students, post docs, and research faculty who base their research on modern microfabrication, stem cell biology, electrophysiology, signal processing, image processing, and integrated circuit design technologies.
Investigators in the Pablo Iglesias Lab use analytic tools from control systems and dynamical systems to study cell biology, including biological signal transduction pathways. Our research interests include the ways cells interpret directional cues to guide their motion, regulatory mechanisms that control cell division, and the sensing and actuation that enable cells to maintain lipid homeostasis.
Our research aims to expand the understanding of how hormones regulate pancreatic islets in health and disease.
Currently, a major focus of the lab is to define the normal adaptations of islets, particularly insulin-producing beta-cells, to the metabolic stress of pregnancy, and to determine how defective adaptation contributes to gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
We anticipate that elucidating physiologic mechanisms of gestational beta-cell adaptation will identify novel therapeutic strategies to expand functional beta-cell mass which would help in the treatment of all types of diabetes.
Ryuya Fukunaga Lab
The Fukunaga Lab uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand the cell biology, biogenesis and function of small silencing RNAs from the atomic to the organismal level.
The lab studies how small silencing RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), are produced and how they function. Mutations in the small RNA genes or in the genes involved in the RNA pathways cause many diseases, including cancers. We use a combination of biochemistry, biophysics, fly genetics, cell culture, X-ray crystallography and next-generation sequencing to answer fundamental biological questions and also potentially lead to therapeutic applications to human diseases.
Sarbjit Saini Lab
The research in the Sarbjit Saini Laboratory focuses on IgE receptor biology and IgE receptor-mediated activation of blood basophils and mast cells. We have examined the role of IgE receptor expression and activation in allergic airways disease, anaphylaxis and chronic urticaria. Our research has been supported by the NIH, American Lung Association and the AAAAI. Our current research interests have focused mechanisms of diease in allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and also translational studies in chronic idiopathic urticaria.
Sean T. Prigge Lab
Current research in the Sean T. Prigge Lab explores the biochemical pathways found in the apicoplast, an essential organelle found in malaria parasites, using a combination of cell biology and genetic, biophysical and biochemical techniques. We are particularly focused on the pathways used for the biosynthesis and modification of fatty acids and associated enzyme cofactors, including pantothenate, lipoic acid, biotin and iron-sulfur clusters. We want to better understand how the cofactors are acquired and used, and whether they are essential for the growth of blood-stage malaria parasites.
Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry
Sean Taverna Laboratory
The Taverna Laboratory studies histone marks, such as lysine methylation and acetylation, and how they contribute to an epigenetic/histone code that dictates chromatin-templated functions like transcriptional activation and gene silencing. Our lab uses biochemistry and cell biology in a variety of model organisms to explore connections between gene regulation and proteins that write and read histone marks, many of which have clear links to human diseases like leukemia and other cancers. We also investigate links between small RNAs and histone marks involved in gene silencing.
The Seydoux Lab studies the earliest stages of embryogenesis to understand how single-celled eggs develop into complex multicellular embryos. We focus on the choice between soma and germline, one of the first developmental decisions faced by embryos. Our goal is to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms that activate embryonic development, polarize embryos, and distinguish between somatic and germline cells, using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system. Our research program is divided into three areas: oocyte-to-embryo transition, embryonic polarity and soma-germline dichotomy.