New Faculty Join MCDB
Joining MCDB in Fall 2016 as an assistant professor is Bo Duan. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). He did his postdoctoral work at Harvard University. His lab uses a combination of mouse genetics, histochemistry, neuroanatomical tracing, electrophysiology, in vivo imaging and behavior analyses to gain understanding of the development, organization, and function of neural circuits that underlie a variety of somatosensory modalities, such as pain and itch.
Before joining the MCDB faculty in 2016, Ming Li was a postdoctoral fellow in Scott Emr’s laboratory at Cornell University. His research focusses on lysosomes. All eukaryotic cells are organized into membrane-bound organelles, he explains. The biogenesis, regulation and quality control of these organelles are essential for the survival of cells and have been important areas of cell biology investigation. For example, decades of studies have been conducted to understand lysosome biogenesis. At least three major pathways (endo-lysosomal membrane trafficking, macroautophagy, and selective autophagy) and numerous machineries have been uncovered for lysosome biogenesis. Yet, the regulation of lysosomal function and the protein quality control process of lysosomal membrane are still poorly understood. Li's lab aims to understand these two important cell biology questions. "We use a combination of genetic, biochemical, and cell biological approaches and are keen on inventing new methods to study these questions," he says.
Dr. Li received his B.S. from Fudan University (Shanghai, China) and Ph.D. from University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Joining MCDB in Winter 2017 is Anthony Vecchiarelli. He received his H.B.Sc. in 2003 in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology from the University of Toronto, where he remained to study with Barbara Funnell, earning a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics in 2010. He did his postdoctoral work with Kiyoshi Mizuuchi at the National Institutes of Health. His lab tackles mechanisms of subcellular organization using interdisciplinary approaches with a strong emphasis on cell-free reconstitution and imaging techniques. Learn more on his lab website.
Eleanor J. Clowney, better known as Josie, will return to the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in MCDB in Winter 2018. The Clowney lab will investigate developmental and regulatory mechanisms that generate neural circuits and govern their function, using the olfactory system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model.
Remarkably, both flies and mammals use two parallel pathways to process olfactory signals: genetically determined neural circuits drive innate behaviors, while randomly wired circuits serve as sites of associative learning to shape flexible behaviors, she explains. Clowney is working to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms that produce these developmentally invariant vs. stochastic patterns of neuronal connectivity.
She earned her undergraduate degree in biology from the UM in 2005, and gained research experience with Cuming Duan. Her earlier experience at UM included math camp when she was 14 years old. After earning a PhD at the University of California, San Fransciso where she joined the labe of Stavros Lomvardas, she did postdotorcal work with Vanessa Ruta at the Rockefeller University. She is the 2014 winner of the $5,000 ASCB Kaluza Prize.
Gary B. Huffnagle, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, has added a joint appointment in MCDB to his UM faculty roles. His laboratory's research is focused on the interaction between the microbiome and the immune system, both in control of pulmonary and intestinal inflammation and in control of infectious diseases (bacterial and fungal).