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!

Welcome Valerie, Colby, and Wendy!

We are thrilled to have three new lab members! Valerie Dong joins the lab as a technician. She arrives with plenty of experience culturing primary cells after working in the UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center. Undergraduate research assistants Colby Wagner and Wendy Showalter will work on summer projects related to lipid droplet composition and lipid droplet-organelle interactions.

Welcome Kimberly!

A warm welcome to Spring rotation student Kimberly Lukasik! Kimberly will be using multispectral imaging to analyze organelle morphodynamics in primary astrocytes, at steady state and in response to stressors such as oxidative stress.

Welcome Maria Clara!

Welcome to postdoctoral research associate Maria Clara Zanellati! Maria Clara will be studying organelle morphology, position, and dynamics in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as they differentiate into neuronal and glial cell types. She will use healthy cells and models of neurodegenerative disease.

Lab attends Cell Bio Virtual 2020

Whew, what a whirlwind of a conference! We enjoyed hearing about the latest exciting cell biology from the comfort of our couches at Cell Bio Virtual 2020. Greg gave a talk in the session on Organelle Cross talk and Contact Sites, while Amit and Ian presented posters. Sarah hosted a fruitful Round Table Discussion on lipid droplets. We hope to see our colleagues in person next year!

Welcome Cat!

A warm welcome to BBSP rotation student Cat Lewis. Cat will be working with Shannon to test and develop fluorescent reporters for studying organelle contact sites.

Ian Windham’s work published in Cancer Research

Congratulations to collaborators Emily Harrison and Chad Pecot for publishing their beautiful story in Cancer Research: “A circle RNA regulatory axis promotes lung squamous metastasis via CDR1-mediated regulation of Golgi trafficking”. Ian Windham contributed live-cell imaging data showing that CDR1 affects the rate of ER-to-Golgi trafficking. Read it here.

Retention using selective hooks (RUSH) assay shows that CR1 increases the rate of ER-to-Golgi trafficking

Lipids, Microscopy, Movement