Cell Biology/Protein Biochemistry of Intracellular Processes

A strong and diverse group of researchers at Yale study various aspects of cell biology.

Richard Baxter (Chemistry) studies the innate immune system of insects that are vectors of human disease, using structural, biophysical and biochemical methods. Efforts to understand the molecular basis of the innate immune response are coupled with the development of novel chemical entities targeting the immune system, including both cell-based and in vitro high-throughput screening.

Anton Bennett (Pharmacology) focuses on the signal transaction pathways regulated by protein tyrosine phosphatases. How protein tyrosine phosphatases signal in the control of cell growth, cell differentiation and metabolism are studied at the molecular and genetic levels. The information gained from the basic understanding of protein tyrosine phosphatases in cell signaling is applied to elucidating how these enzymes are involved in the pathogenesis of diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer..

Paul Forscher (MCDB) is also interested in the molecular events at the leading edge of motile cells. He studies the Aplysia bag cell growth cone, a model system for investigating the cell surface receptors that regulate cytoskeletal and molecular motor protein dynamics. His recent work has centered on the signaling mediated by surface CAMS on the dynamics of actin and myos movements in the growth cone.

Jo Handelsman (MCDB) focuses on the genetic and functional diversity of microorganisms in soil and insect gut communities. She is one of the pioneers of functional metagenomics, an approach to accessing the genetic potential of unculturable bacteria in environmental samples for discovery of novel microbial products.

Mark Hochstrasser (MB&B) studies at a mechanistic and molecular level how specific proteins are rapidly degraded within eukaryotic cells. Such turnover is central to a great variety of regulatory mechanisms, including many of medical relevance. Much of this regulated degradation occurs via the highly conserved ubiquitin-proteasome system.

Art Horwich (Genetics) studies the class of chaperones known as “chaperonins” that are large double-ring structures that bind many non-native polypeptides through exposed hydrophobic surfaces in a central channel then productively release them in the presence of ATP. A range of approaches is employed to understand the mechanism of action of these and related components, including: genetic analysis in vivo, structure-function and biochemical analyses in vitro, crystallographic analyses, and fluorescence and NMR spectroscopy studies.

Mark Mooseker (MCDB) studies the molecular and functional basis of actin-based molecular motors. The major thrust of current effort is focused on the molecular and functional characterization of actin-€lament based molecular motors — i.e. myosins. Studies include biophysical analyses of single motor molecules using state-of-the art light microscopic imaging techniques, dynamic imaging of myosins in living cells using fluorescently tagged motors, biochemical and structural characterization of purified myosins.

Andrew Phillips (Chemistry) .

Tom Pollard (MCDB) uses a combination of biochemical, biophysical, cellular and genetic experiments to test hypotheses about molecular mechanisms of actin-based cellular movements. His lab studies how assembly of actin filaments pushes forward the leading edge of motile cells.

Lynne Regan (MB&B) is interested in the design and characterization of proteins with novel ligand binding activities. These studies hold great promise for development in many areas, such as the development of novel bioelectrical materials and biosensors through surface immobilization.

Elizabeth Rhodes (Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry) studies protein folding and aggregation as related to the pathology of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.  The primary experimental methods she uses are single molecule fluorescence and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, augmented by computational tools.

Joseph Schlessinger (Pharmacology) studies the role tyrosine phosphorylation in the control of many cellular processes including cell proliferation, differentiation, metabolism, as well as cell survival and migration.

Ben Turk (Pharmacology) .