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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 Quantitative 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 2015

  • October 14, 2015
    Frank S. Menniti, Mnemosyne and Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Ketamine and depression: The most important psychiatric discovery in half a century." Joint seminar with the Department of Neuroscience.
  • October 07, 2015
    JoAnne Richards, Baylor College of Medicine. "From ovulation to ovarian cancer -an unexpected journey." Joint seminar with the Department of Physiology and Neurology, Storrs.
  • September 30, 2015
    Xue-Jun Li, Dept. of Neuroscience, UCHC. "Elucidating mechanisms of motor neuron development and degeneration using human pluripotent stem cells”.
  • July 29, 2015
    Rafael Fissore, UMASS-Amherst. "Oddities in the regulation of Ca2+ homeostasis in mouse oocytes and eggs "
  • June 23, 2015
    Simon Lane, University of Southampton, UK. "The meiotic checkpoint in mouse oocytes: A duel role in protecting genomic integrity."
  • May 12, 2015
    Ted Rassmussen, UConn Storrs. "Examining the epigenetics of preimplantation embryos and pluripotent stem cells."
  • April 28, 2015
    Hugh J. Clarke, McGill University. "Getting in touch with the neighbors: A new model of germ line-somatic communication in the ovarian follicle."
  • April 21, 2015
    Jerid W. Robinson, Emory University. "Parathyroid hormone and T cells in Bone: The Jekyll and Hyde of osteoimmunology."
  • April 07, 2015
    Virgil Muresan, Rutgers, NJ Medical School “Long-distance transport in neurons revisited: An unexplored function of the endoplasmic reticulum.”
  • March 19, 2015
    Diego Bohórquez , Duke University Medical Center. "Where the Gut Meets the Brain."
  • March 10, 2015
    Cahir O'Kane, University of Cambridge. "Roles of Drosophila spastic paraplegia genes in organisation of  axonal endoplasmic reticulum."
  • January 27, 2015
    Jim Pru, Washington State University. "Mechanisms of Endometrial Regeneration."


Past Seminars