Cellular Dynamics

All living cells are dynamic machines that integrate a wide variety of biochemical and mechanical information, continuously adapting and responding to their local environment. Signals transmitted by hormones, growth factors, neighboring cells or the extracellular matrix are sensed by cells and can trigger rapid changes in metabolism, gene expression, cell shape/cytoskeletal organization, membrane dynamics and behavior. For example, cell migration in response to external cues involves the dynamic reorganization of the actin, microtubule and intermediate filament cytoskeletons, coordinated with membrane trafficking events that deliver new membrane to the leading edge and internalize adhesive receptors from the cell rear. In all cells, the targeted delivery of receptors, transporters, secretory and endocytic cargo to the appropriate destination is essential for cell function. Many of these processes are disrupted or dysregulated in human disease, and many pathogenic microorganisms manipulate host cell cytoskeleton or membrane dynamics to establish a reproductive niche.

Researchers in the Department of Cell Biology explore cellular dynamics using a variety of model systems ranging from cultured cells to Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus and mouse models. Employing state-of-the-art imaging, biochemical, biophysical and genetic approaches, our goals are to visualize and analyze cellular events at high resolution and in real time. We seek to clarify the underlying forces and mechanisms that interact to drive cellular behavior. These studies, which emphasize fundamental cellular processes, are also essential for understanding how perturbations alter their course and may lead to disease.

Faculty

Robert Bloodgood

Bloodgood, Robert A.

Cell-Surface Glycoprotein Dynamics and Cell Locomotion


James Casanova

Casanova, James E.

Role of Arf family GTPases in vesicular transport and cytoskeleton assembly.
Cell Biology of bacterial pathogenesis.
The innate immune response to bacterial infection.


J. Castle

Castle, J. David

Intracellular cholesterol and the regulation of insulin secretion and membrane trafficking.


Douglas DeSimone

DeSimone, Douglas W.

Cell Adhesion and Adhesion-Dependent Cell Signaling in Vertebrate Morphogenesis


Noelle Dwyer

Dwyer, Noelle

Neural Development; Cell Division in Neural Stem Cells; Axon Outgrowth and Guidance


Kenneth Pfister

Pfister, K. Kevin

Regulation of Cytoplasmic Dynein for Membrane Bounded Organelle Trafficking in Axons


Alan Horwitz

Horwitz, Alan F.

Synapse Formation and Cell Migration in Normal and Pathobiology-Adhesion, Signaling, Imaging and Proteomics


Judith White

White, Judith M.

Virus Entry into Cells: Mechanisms and Development of Anti-Viral Therapeutics

Bettina Winckler

Winckler, Bettina

Endosomal function and dysfunction in neurons