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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 teaching of the Human Systems and the Correlated Medical Problem Solving (CMPS) courses for first year medical and dental students, and the Logic of Cell Biology course for graduate students. Several faculty are also contributors to medical / and dental 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 Quanitative Medicine (Reinhard Laubenbacher, Director). The department organizes the annual Richard D. Berlin lecture.

Department Activities

Department News

Cover of Cell

On the cover! In the July 18, 2013 issue of Cell, Terasaki et al. (pp. 285–296) explain how parallel sheets of endoplasmic reticulum are connected. The existence of these sheet stacks and their function in synthesis of membrane and secreted proteins has been known for more than 60 years. Three-dimensional reconstructions from serial section electron micrographs from mouse salivary gland show that the sheets are connected by twisted membrane surfaces with helical edges. The overall structure resembles a parking garage, in which the different levels are connected by helicoidal ramps. Theoretical calculations show that this structure minimizes the elastic energy of sheet edges and surfaces and allows dense packing of this organelle in the restricted space of a cell.

Seminars 2013–2015

  • January 27, 2015
    Jim Pru, Washington State University. "Mechanisms of Endometrial Regeneration."
  • October 28, 2014
    Mary Hunzicker-Dunn. Washington State University. "FSH signaling in ovarian granulosa cells: How PKA hijacks other pathways to regulate gene expression." Joint seminar with the Endocrine Scholar Lecture Series.
  • October 09, 2014
    Peng Jin. Emory University School of Medicine. "Molecular basis of Fragile X-related disorders." Joint seminar with the Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology.
  • May 16, 2014
    Viacheslav Nikolaev. University of Goettingen. "Imaging compartmentalized pools of cAMP to understand heart physiology and disease." Joint seminar with the Department of Cell Biology and Center for Vascular Biology.
  • April 29, 2014
    Giulia Vigone. University of Pavia."The road towards follicle developmental competence: Cumulus cell markers and 3D in vitro follicle culture."
  • April 15, 2014
    Rachael Norris. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center. "Connexin43 Phosphorylation: Tales from the C-terminal tail."
  • February 28, 2014
    Marina Freudzon. Yale University. "The unexpected roles of Langerhans cells in cutaneous carcinogenesis."
  • November 12, 2013
    Natalie Matijescukova. Veterinary Research Institute, Czech Republic. "Oocyte spindle dancing to the cortex."
  • October 17, 2013
    Rick H. Cote. Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of New Hampshire – Joint Seminar with the Department of MMSB. "Structural basis for the activation of cGMP phosphodiesterase during the first steps in vision."
  • June 4, 2013
    Emre Seli, Yale University. "Translational regulation of gene expression during oogenesis: the role of embryonic poly(A) binding protein."
  • May 9, 2013
    Carmen Dessauer, University of Texas-Houston. "Spatial constraints of cAMP signaling: the next dimension in adenylyl cyclase regulation."
  • March 26, 2013
    Yijun Ruan, Jackson Labs, Farmington, CT. "ChIA-PET for 3D chromatin interaction architecture, transcription regulation, and disease."
  • January 9, 2013
    Carmen Williams, National Institute of Health/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC. "Outside-in calcium signaling is required for egg activation"