Cell Biology

Research in the department explores a wide variety of basic aspects of cell function and cell communication particularly in the context of plant or animal development, neurobiology, immunology, and the cancer process.

Projects range from studies on endocytic processing of tumor antigens for presentation on the surfaces of cells of the immune system to develop tumor immunity to studies on the mechanism of asymmetric cell division to generate cell type diversity during development and studies identifying molecules involved in regulating cell traction to facilitate cell migration during embryogenesis. Signal transduction pathways involved in processes as diverse as photoreception, directing developmental decision making in forming the vulva organ of the nematode worm and pheromone signaling in the olfactory system are also areas of active research in the department. These problems are approached using genetics, biochemistry, electrophysiology, and microscopy.

Faculty with Interest in Cell Biology:

Bieberich, Charles
We are interested in determining how the prostate tumor suppressor NKX3.1 controls cell proliferation.

Blumberg, Daphne
One gene we are studying controls the traction a migrating cell exerts as it moves. We are doing genetic screens for additional traction genes.

Brewster, Rachel
We are investigating the regulation of brain development and metabolism. These studies are expected to contribute to the prevention of neural tube birth defects and the treatment of stroke.

Craig, Nessly
Mammalian ribosomal RNA synthesis in the nucleolus and its regulation.

Gardner, Jeffrey
Using systems and synthetic biology to engineer microbial strains of industrial value for bioenergy and bioremediation.

Ostrand-Rosenberg, Suzanne
Tumor immunology; processing and presentation of tumor antigens to CD4+ T lymphocytes; tumor-induction of suppressor myeloid cells.

Robinson, Phyllis
My research program is interested in vision and the molecules that convert light into a biological signal.

Starz-Gaiano, Michelle
We are interested in the cellular signaling events that induce cell motility. We are also studying the changes in cell adhesion that must occur when cells become migratory.