Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lab Retreat in Saxapahaw

We had a fantastic Lab Retreat in Saxapahaw! We did a Strengthsfinder activity that allowed us to learn about the shared and unique strengths of our team members. Then we had lunch at the Saxapahaw General Store and paddled on the Haw River.

Happy Halloween from the Cohen Lab!

We had so much fun dressing up as organelles for Halloween! Sherry is a microtubule; Greg is mitochondria; Maria Clara is a peroxisome; Alex is lipid droplets; Joey is a lysosome; Vickie is the Golgi; Shannon is a stress granule; Ian is a chloroplast; and Sarah is the ER! So much creativity in these costumes!

PS What do you call an elevator full of organelles? A CELL-evator!


Good-bye Sidney, Valerie, and Colby. We will miss you!

Today was a bitter-sweet day as we said goodbye to 3 lab members. PREP Scholar Sidney Smith will move on to a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at U Penn, while technician Valerie Dong will pursue a PhD in Animal Science at UC Davis, and undergraduate research assistant Colby Wagner will move to a Research Associate position at local company AskBio. Good luck, we will miss you!


Welcome, new students!

We are thrilled to have 3 new CBP Curriculum PhD Students joining the lab: Sherry Hsu, Alex Powers, and Vickie Williams. Sherry will study the role of tubulin modifications in positioning organelles, and how this goes awry in models of ALS. Alex will study the role of Apolipoprotein E, the largest genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, in regulating cellular lipid metabolism. Vickie will study the role of membrane contact site proteins in Parkinson’s disease. Welcome!

Greg’s preprint posted to bioRxiv

Greg’s preprint has been posted to bioRxiv! Taking a deep dive into the function of the lipid droplet-mitochondria contact protein perilipin 5 (PLIN5), we show that efficient trafficking of fatty acids from lipid droplets to mitochondria during starvation requires both phosphorylation of PLIN5 and the PLIN5 mitochondrial tethering domain. Read the tweetorial to learn more.

Welcome Sidney!

We are thrilled to welcome PREP Scholar Sidney Smith to the lab! Sidney just graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Molecular Genetics. In the Cohen Lab, Sidney will be working on developing a library of dimerization-dependent fluorescent probes to detect contact sites between lipid droplets and other organelles.

Amit and Joey get the cover

Amit’s image is on the cover of MBoC! The cover image shows that multiple C2 domain-containing transmembrane proteins (here MCTP2; green) are localized in specialized endoplasmic reticulum (ER; magenta) subdomains. These subdomains are sites of lipid droplet biogenesis. The MCTP punctae also occur at ER contact sites with multiple other organelles, including endosomes, peroxisomes, and mitochondria.


Amit and Joey’s paper published in MBoC!

Amit and Joey’s paper, “Multiple C2 domain–containing transmembrane proteins promote lipid droplet biogenesis and growth at specialized endoplasmic reticulum subdomains,” has been published in Molecular Biology of the Cell! We show that MCTP1 and MCTP2 localize to ER subdomains that are sites of lipid droplet (LD)  biogenesis. The MCTP reticulon homology domains promote membrane curvature and LD biogenesis, while the C2 domains bind charged lipids, promoting ER-LD contacts and LD growth. Intriguingly, MCTPs localize to multiple ER-organelle membrane contact sites, suggesting a role in co-ordination of multiple organelle interactions!