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Faculty Research

Currently, the CCGS has six principal faculty members pursuing multidisciplinary research in Biology and Physics. See below for faculty research statements and sample publications.

Markus Babst, Associate Professor of Biology, Director

Research in the Babst laboratory focuses on the trafficking of transmembrane proteins in the endosomal system of eukaryotic cells, with particular interest in the mechanisms by which cellular physiology is affecting these protein trafficking routes.

Jones, C.B., E.M. Ott, J.M. Keener, M. Curtiss, V. Sandrin and M. Babst (2012) Regulation of protein degradation by starvation-response pathways. Traffic, in press.

Richard Clark, Associate Professor of Biology

Research in the Clark laboratory seeks a molecular-genetic understanding of the causes and consequences of genetic variation, primarily using the reference plant, Arabidopsis thaliana.

Gan, X., O. Stegle, J. Behr, J.G. Steffen, P. Drewe, K.L. Hildebrand, R. Lyngsoe, S.J. Schultheiss, E.J. Osborne, V.T. Sreedharan, A. Kahles, R. Bohnert, G. Jean, P. Derwent, P. Kersey, E. Belfield, N. Harberd, E. Kemen, P. Kover, C. Toomajian, R.M. Clark, M. Rätsch and R, Mott (2011) Multiple reference genomes and transcriptomes for Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature 477:419-23.

 Julie Hollien, Associate Professor of Biology

The overall goal of the Hollien laboratory is to understand the mechanisms controlling mRNA turnover and the relationships between mRNA stability, localization, and cellular stress pathways, currently focusing on how cells employ mRNA decay in regulating endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function.

Hollien, J., J.H. Lin, H. Li, N. Stevens, P. Walter and J.S. Weissman (2009) Regulated Ire1-dependent decay of messenger RNAs in mammalian cells. J Cell Biol 186:323-31.

Moore K, Hollien J. Ire1-mediated decay in mammalian cells relies on mRNA sequence, structure, and translational status. Mol Biol Cell. 2015. 26(16):2873-84.

Erik Jorgensen, Professor of Biology, Investigator/HHMI

The Jorgensen laboratory is working to identify the proteins that function at the synapse to release and recycle synaptic vesicles by undertaking a genetic analysis of neurotransmission in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

Frøkjær-Jensen, C., N. Jain, L. Hansen, M.W. Davis, Y. Li, D. Zhao, K. Rebora, J. RM Millet, X. Liu, S. Kim, D. Dupuy, E.M.Jorgensen*, A. Fire*. 2016.  An abundant class of non-coding DNA can prevent stochastic gene silencing of in the C. elegans germline.  Cell 166, p343-357.

Saveez Saffarian, Associate Professor of Physics

Research in the Saffarian laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of enveloped virus budding and replication. Specifically the lab is interested in HIV and VSV as model systems for RNA viruses. Our HIV research is focused on how HIV virions assemble all their components and release from infected cells as immature virions and how the immature virions mature to produce fully infectious HIV virions, of particular interest are ESCRT protein interactions with HIV, packaging of Gag-Pol and auto-processing of Gag-Pol by HIV protease. The HIV work is supported by an NIH RO1 award.

Our lab is also interested in replication of negative strand RNA viruses which include major human pathogens like Ebola and measles. We use VSV which is an animal pathogen as a model system to study replication mechanism of negative strand RNA viruses. Of interest are VSV transcription and polymerase translocation mechanism during infection. This research is supported by an NSF award.

Bendjennat M, Saffarian S. The Race against Protease Activation Defines the Role of ESCRTs in HIV Budding. PLoS Pathogens. 2016;12(6):e1005657. PMCID: PMC4900648 

Tang X, Bendjennat M, Saffarian S. Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Polymerase's Strong Affinity to Its Template Suggests Exotic Transcription Models. PLoS Comput Biol. 2014;10(12):e1004004.

Michael Vershinin, Assistant Professor of Physics

The Vershinin laboratory studies molecular motors using optical trapping and single molecule experiments.

McKenney, R.J.†, M. Vershinin†, A. Kunwar, R.B. Vallee‡ and S.P. Gross‡ (2010) LIS1 and NudE induce a persistent dynein force-producing state. Cell 141:304-14.

co-primary authors. ‡co-senior authors. *co-corresponding authors.

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Last Updated: 8/3/17