Department of Cell Biology

The Department of Cell Biology is home to an exciting group of faculty, post-doctoral scientists and students addressing fascinating questions about the nature of biological complexity – how molecular, subcellular, cellular and multicellular events are integrated and ordered over time to assemble and maintain specialized tissues, organs and whole organisms.  We work to promote multidisciplinary collaborative research and fundamental discovery in all areas of cell and developmental biology, and to inspire the translation of these new advances toward improving human health.

Newman Lab Studies "Leaky" Mitochondria and Inflammation Response

Dr. Laura Newman researches how “leaky” mitochondria – the powerhouses of our cells – can drive harmful inflammation responsible for diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists may be able to leverage the findings to develop better treatments for those diseases, improve our ability to fight off viruses and even slow aging.

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UVA Cell Biology Welcomes Dr. Laura Newman

Dr. Laura Newman joins the department from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Her research focuses on the role of mitochondria in regulating innate immunity.

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Cell Biology MSTP Students Receive F30 Fellowships

Ryan Mulligan (Winckler Lab) and Gustavo Pacheco (DeSimone Lab) were awarded prestigious F30 fellowships from the National Institutes of Health. The F30 National Research Service Awards Fellowships help support trainees during their last one or two years of their PhD and for an equivalent amount of time in their clinical clerkship training. The awards are highly selective, which attests to the research success and talent of these students and their faculty mentors. Ryan’s project broadly explores the molecular machinery by which cells respond to lysosomal stresses, especially in diseases that affect the nervous system. His F30 grant is specifically looking at how these lysosomal stress responses may be impacted within the cells of our brains as we age. Gustavo’s research focuses on integrin proteins — the glue between cells and their surrounding physical environment, called the extracellular matrix. Through his thesis work in the DeSimone Lab, he has discovered and demonstrated a new function of integrin proteins as regulators of metabolism.

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Jordon Aragon

Jordan Aragon Receives F31 Award

Jordon Aragon, a graduate student in the Hirschi Lab, has been awarded an NIH-NHLBI F31 predoctoral fellowship. Jordon researches the cell cycle and how it provides windows of opportunity that allow cells to make important fate decisions during embryonic development. Jordon's award focuses on how proper cell cycle control is necessary for endothelial cells to form arteries, veins, and a functional cardiovascular system.

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Jim with lab members

Prof. James Casanova receives Kadner Award

We are pleased to announce that Professor James Casanova has received the 2023 Robert J. Kadner Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching. This prestigious annual award recognizes a faculty member for their exceptional and lasting contributions to the teaching and mentoring of Ph.D. students and/or postdoctoral trainees. A special feature of the Kadner award is that the faculty member must be nominated by trainees. We are very proud of Dr. Casanova and all the past Kadner awardees from Cell Biology, Drs. David Castle, Douglas DeSimone and Judith White. Congratulations to Dr. Casanova for this important recognition; we thank him for his dedication and leadership in support of our educational mission.

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Bajikar, Sameer Headshot

UVA Cell Biology Welcomes Dr. Sameer Bajikar

We're excited to welcome Dr. Sameer Bajikar, Ph.D., as Assistant Professor of Cell Biology. Dr. Bajikar is an alumnus of UVA's Department of Biomedical Engineering, where he completed received his undergraduate and graduate degrees, mentored by Dr. Kevin Janes. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular and Human Genetics under the mentorship of Dr. Huda Zoghbi at Baylor College of Medicine.

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