Membrane Biology

Research includes:

  • Beta-glucan Synthases
  • Bioenergetics
  • Cell to Cell Communication
  • Cell Wall Synthesis
  • Cellular Energetics
  • Cellulose Synthases
  • Exo/Endocytosis
  • Flip-Flop
  • Glycoprotein Synthesis
  • Glycosyl Transferases
  • Golgi Apparatus
  • Lateral Diffusion
  • Lipid Trafficking
  • Membrane Dynamics
  • Membrane Microdomains
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membrane-Associated Enzymes
  • Phase Behavior
  • Plant Membranes
  • Plant Polysaccharide Synthesis
  • Protein Trafficking
  • Protein-Lipid Interactions
  • Signaling Platforms
  • Transmembrane Transport

Training Group Mission:

Students in the Membrane Biology training group are educated in the basic and fundamental understanding of cell membranes, their components and how membrane and membrane-associated processes control numerous cellular functions. In addition, students are involved in the transfer of these discoveries into new therapies, biofunctional materials, beneficial agricultural products, and devices for the treatment of human disease. Students work with a multidisciplinary group of faculty from many departments who employ an extensive range of experimental approaches including biochemistry, neurobiology, molecular biology, structural biology, microscopy, biophysical chemistry, analytical and organic chemistry, and engineering. The study of membranes and membrane proteins is a burgeoning and exciting frontier in the life sciences and recent technical advances in the field make significant progress and discovery possible. Students also have the opportunity to interact with other members of the program through seminar courses and research meetings.

Faculty Membership

Research Area

Protein trafficking and membrane transport in relation to the processes of cell polarity establishment and carcinogenic transformation

Information processing in neural circuits, primarily in the auditory system, in normal and pathologic conditions.
Cell and developmental biology, membrane trafficking, molecular genetics, cell polarity
Development of small molecules, peptides and peptidomimetics for drug discovery, bionanotechnology, and cellular delivery of therapeutic agents
(1) Electron Transport; Cytochrome Complexes; (2) Bacterial Toxin (Colicin) Import

Cell biology of mammalian gametes and fertilization.

Molecular biology of arthropod vectors of disease, with an emphasis on vector-pathogen interactions, characterization of arthropod G protein-coupled receptors, and insecticide discovery.
Multidrug resistance in human cancer

Synaptic and dendritic integration in vitro and in vivo, sensory integration, two-photon imaging, optogenetics, sub-cellular patch-clamp recordings, nanotechology, bioelectronics

Development of mass spectrometry imaging for mapping lipids, metabolites, proteins in biological samples.
Cardiovascular disease is a growing problem worldwide and the leading cause of death in the United States. Phospholipase C (PLC) enzymes, in particular PLCβ and PLCε, are essential for normal cardiovascular function. These proteins generate second messengers that regulate the concentration of intracellular calcium and the activation of protein kinase C (PKC). Dysregulation of calcium levels and PKC activity can result in cardiovascular diseases and heart failure. A new direction of research being explored is to understand how PLCε also functions as a tumor suppressor in certain cancers. We use an innovative combination of X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, small angle X-ray scattering, and atomic force microscopy to gain structural insights into phospholipase C (PLC) regulation and activation. Structure-based hypotheses are validated through functional assays and cell-based assays, and ultimately whole animal studies. Our studies will aid in the identification and development of novel chemical probes that could be used to study the roles of PLCε in disease and serve as lead compounds for new therapeutics in cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Structural biology, membrane proteins, protein folding, protein transport across membrane, protein import and trafficking, infectious diseases, pathogenic bacteria, multi-drug resistant bacteria, Gram-negative bacterial pathogens

Our laboratory studies the genetic and molecular control mechanisms plants and algae employ, under some conditions, to make use of every photon that is available for photosynthesis, whilst in others to protect the photosynthetic machinery from excess light.
Development of novel techniques and their application in addressing important problems at biological interfaces
Our lab studies how RGS proteins are regulated and how these proteins, in turn, play important roles in several pathologies. We currently have projects geared towards cardiovascular disease, asthma, neurodegenerative diseases and several types of cancer. We use biochemical and cell based assays, as well as structural approaches. We also develop high-throughput screening assays to identify small molecule modulators of RGS proteins.
The main focus of the lab is mechanisms by which lipid-enveloped viruses (coronaviruses, filoviruses and paramyxoviruses) replicate via assembly and budding in human cells to form new virus particles.
Cytoskeletal function during plant and fungal development and in response to environmental signals
Macromolecular structure and assembly using X-ray crystallography; membrane associated proteins; enzyme structure and function

Nervous system development and regeneration, neuronal growth cone motility and guidance, ROS signaling, neuronal mechanics, advanced live cell imaging, spinal cord injury.

I am a tenured Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy at Purdue University. I have an extensive training in drug discovery at G protein-coupled opioid receptors (GPCR) pharmacology. My independent research has primarily focused on investigating the delta opioid receptor (δOR) as a novel target for the treatment of (co-morbid) pain, alcohol use and mood disorders. Particularly, my post-doctoral training in behavioral neuropharmacology of alcohol and opioid use at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, a premier alcohol research center within the University of California San Francisco, has been valuable in establishing me as an expert in the study of alcohol use disorder and opioid receptor pharmacology. My work is highly collaborative, and I have published and received NIH funding working together with chemists, computational biophysicists, pharmacologists, and biochemists and I recently finished a sabbatical in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Shoichet at UCSF to acquire novel skills in docking ultra-large virtual libraries at opioid receptors. Combined, my training, research productivity and research environment make me uniquely qualified to propose and investigate highly pertinent and timely research questions related to the mechanisms underlying opioid receptor signaling in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. My long-term goal is to discover and develop novel and highly efficacious drug treatments for psychiatric disorders with limited side effect profiles.
Molecular pharmacology and drug discovery of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and adenylyl cyclases.

Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 170 | 155  S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114 | 765-494-2600

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