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UConn Health Department of Cell Biology

Research in the Department of Cell Biology is concerned with cells as well as how cells function in the context of the various tissues of the body. Our goal is to discover molecular and physiological mechanisms that underlie the treatment and prevention of human disease.

The department faculty participate in the first year medical and dental student curriculum, and the Foundations of Biomedical Science course for graduate students. Several faculty are also contributors to medical student textbooks.

The core of the department consists of former members of the Department of Physiology, which was chaired by Richard D. Berlin for over 30 years. In recent years, he oversaw the change to Cell Biology, the addition of members from the former Departments of Pharmacology and Anatomy, and the formation of the Center for Vascular Biology (Linda Shapiro, Director) and the Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling (Leslie Loew, Director). The Department of Cell Biology is also the academic home for basic science faculty members in the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center (Bruce Liang, Director) and the Center for Quantitative Medicine (Reinhard Laubenbacher, Director). The department organizes the annual Richard D. Berlin lecture.

Department Activities

Department News

Cover of Cell

Mayu Inaba joined the Cell Biology Department in April 2017, as an assistant professor. Her research concerns signaling between adult stem cells and the specialized microenvironments, called niches, that maintain stem cells in an undifferentiated and self-renewing state. In a recent paper (Nature, 2015; 523: 329-332), Inaba and colleagues demonstrated that microtubule-based nanotubes, which extend from stem cells into the cells of the niche, contribute to the short-range nature of this signaling. This image shows a 3D reconstruction of a Drosophila testicular niche, illustrating how microtubule nanotubes (green) penetrate into neighboring niche cells (red). 

Seminars 2017

  • December 13, 2017
    Steven L'Hernault, Emory University. "Looks Aren't Everything: What Nematode Sperm are Teaching Us About Conserved Aspects of Fertilization"
  • November 29, 2017
    Doug Tilley, Temple University. Fine-Tuning b2-adrenergic Receptor Signaling for Cardiac Repair"
  • October 11, 2017
    James Pru, Washington State University. "PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 Functions in Female Fertility and Disease"
  • September 20, 2017
    Diane Duffy, Eastern Virginia Medical School Norfolk, VA. "Angiogenesis in the Ovulatory Follicle: Opportunities for Novel Contraceptive Development"
  • September 6, 2017
    Adriana Carr, Center of Molecular Immunology, Havana, Cuba. "Synergistic anti-metastatic effect of anti EGFR mAb by its combination with immunotherapies targeting the ganglioside NGcGM3"
  • July 31, 2017
    Nita Maihle, Medical College of Georgia. "EGF/HER Receptor Isoforms: Form, Function, and Clinical Implications"
  • May 24, 2017
    Lane Christenson, University of Kansas Medical Center. "Extracellular Vesicles and Cell to Cell Communication in Ovarian Follicles.”
  • April 18, 2017
    Jim Hainfeld,  Nanoprobes, Inc., Yaphank, NY, "Biography of a Nanoparticle."
  • April 12, 2017
    Cahir O'Kane, University of Cambridge, "Roles of spastic paraplegia proteins in axonal ER organisation in Drosophila."
  • March 22, 2017
    Sarah Xin Zhang, SUNY, Buffalo, "Protein homeostasis and ER stress in Retinal Angiogenesis and Vascular Repair."

Future Seminars

Past Seminars

FollicleCell biology and vascular biology, 2017 retreat at the Pond House (photo by Charan Devarakonda)