Research Faculty

Kenneth Campellone
Associate Professor

Cytoskeletal Dynamics, Membrane Remodeling, and Autophagy. My lab investigates (1) how actin and microtubules control the organization, shape, and movement of membrane-bound organelles and (2) how cytoskeleton-driven membrane remodeling is altered in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, genetic disorders, and aging. We use a combination of bioinformatics, genetic, biochemical, and cellular approaches to study these processes.  Visit the Campellone Lab Website.

Charles Giardina

Cell Signalling and Gene Regulation. Mechanisms of aberrant gene expression in colon cancer cells. Effects of chromatin structure on cellular genetic programming. Visit the Giardina Lab Website.

David Goldhamer
Professor & CDB Graduate Program Head

Developmental Biology, Muscle Development, Adult Stem Cells. Research Interests: Regulation of cell fates in mammalian embryos. Transcriptional regulation and function of skeletal muscle regulatory factors. Muscle stem cell function and plasticity, muscle regeneration in injured and diseased muscle, cell biology of heterotopic bone formation in human disease.

Aoife Heaslip
Assistant Professor

Toxoplasma gondii cell biology and host-pathogen interactions. My Lab is focused on understanding the biology of human pathogen Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite and the causative agent of Toxoplasmosis. Parasite survival and hence disease pathogenesis rely on its ability to secrete proteins from specialized secretory organelles, called the dense granules, into the host. We are using a combination of parasite cell biology, live cell imaging and single molecule biophysics to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying dense granule transport and secretion. By understanding the mechanisms underlying this essential process it is our goal to identify new targets for the development of anti-parasitic drugs. Heaslip Lab

Cytoskeleton and Cell Motility, Nanotoxicology. Molecular genetics of the actin cytoskeleton/Cell Motility. Actin-binding proteins: Cell motility driven by the actin cytoskeleton is important for normal development, proper functioning of the immune system, and are altered in metastatic cancer cells. Our lab uses molecular genetics and GFP/RFP fluorescent protein fusions in conjunction with advanced microscopy techniques to visualize actin dynamics in mammalian cells and Dictyostelium amoebae and to construct mutant cell lines with altered cytoskeletal structural proteins. Models for several human diseases associated with actin-binding protein mutations are being created. Collaboration with Dr. Juliet Lee examines the biomechanics of motility in cells with cytoskeletal mutations. Silicosis. Inhalation of silica particles causes lung inflammation leading to the chronic inflammatory lung disease silicosis. The mechanism by which macrophages recognize and take up silica particles and other nanomaterials and the mechanism of toxicity are being investigated. Macropinocytosis. A collection of mutants with alterations in macropinocytosis has been created in order to understand the molecular basis of this important process. Mutated genes are currently being isolated and characterized.

Juliet Lee
Associate Professor

Cytoskeleton and Cell Motility. Cell movement is a highly complex phenomenon which is itself composed of several other “motile processes”, such as protrusion, adhesion, contraction, and detachment. The overall aim of my work is to understand how molecular mechanisms and biomechanical properties are integrated at the cellular level to produce movement. This requires learning how the dynamic behavior of the actin cytoskeleton and cell-substratum adhesion formation is regulated both spatially and temporally. I am particularly interested in the mechano–chemical regulation of cell movement as this is important for understanding the interrelationship between molecular processes, force production, cell morphology, and movement. So far my studies have focused primarily on fish epithelial keratocytes because their rapid, relatively simple mode of movement is best suited for discerning the basic principles which relate molecular events to whole cell movement. I use a combination of techniques including fluorescence video microscopy, calcium imaging, photoactivation, and force detection assays to observe molecular, cellular and biophysical aspects of cell movement. Visit the Lee Lab Website. 

Michael Lynes
Professor & MCB Department Head

Immunobiology, Immunotoxicology, Metallothionein Function. Biochemical regulation of anergy. Role of metallothionein in the regulation of stress-mediated immunomodulation, Real-time biosensors. Leukocyte chemotaxis and phagocytosis. Visit the Lynes Lab Website.

Adam Zweifach

Immune Cell Signalling Cell. Research in my lab is focused on the role of intracellular calcium signaling in the function of T lymphocytes. We are currently using a combination of molecular, biochemical and functional approaches- including fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry- to investigate three areas. First, what are the calcium-dependent effector proteins involved in cytotoxic T lymphocyte lytic granule exocytosis? Second, what SNARE proteins and synaptotagmins are involved in CTL granule exocytosis and cytokine secretion by helper T cells? Third, is activation of the calcium-dependent phosphatase calcineurin sufficient to promote cytokine secretion from helper cells, or are there multiple calcium-dependent steps? Visit the Zweifach Lab Website

Other MCB Faculty Affiliated with Cell Biology

J. Peter Gogarten
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

Evolution of structure and function of ATPases/ATPsynthases; the early evolution of eukaryotic cells; molecular evolution of membrane proteins; horizontal gene transfer and gene duplications. Visit the Gogarten Lab website

Barbara Mellone

Normal inheritance of genetic material requires that chromosomes segregate faithfully during mitosis and meiosis. The kinetochore is a unique structure that attaches chromosomes to the microtubule spindle, monitors proper chromosome attachment to the spindle, and couples spindle and motor protein forces to move chromosomes during prometaphase and anaphase. The centromere is a specialized chromosomal site that is the structural and functional foundation for kinetochore formation and is characterized by a unique type of chromatin that needs to be reconstituted after each replication cycle. My lab is interested in understanding how the centromere location is determined and how the centromere site is inherited through cell division. By using different molecular and imaging techniques we are dissecting pathways responsible for cell-cycle regulation, localization, and functional inter-dependence of centromere components using the fruit fly as the model organism. Visit the Mellone Lab Website.

Rachel O’Neill
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

We use molecular and cytogenetic techniques to study the genetics of centromere determinance; centromere function and evolution; chromosome evolution; speciation and hybrid dysgenesis in several model systems, including Mus, Peromyscus, and several marsupial genera. We are also using these techniques to study species-specific placental development and evolution with respect to retroelement load; the evolution of transposable elements and retroviruses; and, the epigenetic effectors of gene expression and chromosome structure. Visit the R. O’Neill Website.

In vivo and in vitro investigations of the assembly of virus capsids, the interactions between proteins and molecular chaperones, including those used in secretion of proteins from Mycobacterium species. Teschke Lab

Ping Zhang
Associate Professor

Chromosome structure and gene expression; The Y chromosome and spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster; P-element insertional mutagenesis.

Active Emeritus MCB Faculty

Thomas T. Chen
Professor Emeritus

Molecular and Developmental Endocrinology. Structure and regulation of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor genes and actions of their gene products in finfish and shellfish; application transgenic finfish and shellfish in aquaculture; molecular toxicology.

Lawrence E. Hightower
Professor Emeritus

Inducible molecular and cellular defenses against trauma; cellular stress response; heat shock response.

Hans Laufer
Professor Emeritus
Research Professor

Gene regulation during development and reproduction; hormonal and molecular interactions; comparative endocrinology of invertebrates

Kenneth M. Noll
Professor Emeritus

Physiology and genetics of extremely thermophilic bacteria and archaea; early mechanisms of energy metabolism as exemplified by the use of elemental sulfur as an external electron acceptor; nature and evolution of the chromosomes of microorganisms. Visit the Noll Lab Website.