Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology

At UVA’s Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology, we strive to understand fundamental biological processes at the highest possible spatial and time resolution. Our ultimate goal is to use high-end imaging, structural, biophysical, and biological and chemical probe technologies to make impactful discoveries on understanding the causes, development and cures of diseases ranging from cardiovascular to cancer to neurological and infectious diseases.

Our faculty is comprised of researchers from nine Departments and three Schools at the University of Virginia. They share common research interests and facilities including high-end structural biology and microscopy equipment to achieve a deeper understanding of how cells and in particular cell membranes function.

Meet the Director

Dr. Lukas K. Tamm directs the Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology. His research interests include studies on virus entry into cells by membrane fusion, neurotransmitter release at synapses by exocytosis of synaptic vesicles at nerve termini, and the study of the structures of bacterial outer membrane transporters by nuclear magnetic resonance.

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Membrane and Cell Physiology image.

Research Areas

Membrane and Cell Physiology faculty focus their research on the following areas: Membrane Transport; Membrane Fusion; Host-Pathogen Interactions; Signal Transduction; and Membrane Channels & Receptors.

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UVA Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology researcher in lab looking through microscope

Center Faculty

Our diverse team of professionals are leaders in their fields and are consistently conducting cutting edge research in the fields of molecular and cellular biology.

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Six primary labs are associated with the Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology, each seeking a deeper understanding of cell and membrane physiology:

  • Ai LabDeveloping novel molecular probes to peer into cells and brains to understand their communications.



  • Ebrahim Lab – Studying Cytoskeletal architecture, dynamics and roles in cellular physiology and disease; High-resolution live cell and tissue imaging.


  • Kenworthy Lab – Examining the role of membrane microdomains such as lipid rafts and caveolae in health and disease and the role of intracellular protein dynamics and complex formation in autophagy.



  • Levental Lab – Understanding the fundamental mechanisms by which membranes and dietary lipids regulate cell physiology.



  • Redemann Lab – Investigating the mechanisms and principles of spindle assembly and chromosome segregation.



  • Tamm Lab – Studying mechanisms of virus entry into cells and neurotransmitter release from neurons and insulin release from pancreatic β-cells by membrane fusion.

Diversity Statement

The Center for Membrane and Cell Physiology  is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We strive to create and maintain a diverse, inclusive and collaborative work environment where everyone feels safe, supported and valued, and where all voices are heard. We empower the members of our community to freely and openly share their different views, ideas, and experiences.  We believe that diversity in backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is crucial for driving innovation and excellence in our research. The Center welcomes people from all backgrounds regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, nationality, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We are dedicated to promoting equity and equality in our labs and in our field.