In the Duncan lab, we study the molecular mechanisms of membrane traffic in the endosomal system. In this process, the cell directs trans-membrane proteins to specific locations within the cell. This central feature of eukaryotic cell biology is important for functions of the human body including the ability to recognize and destroy infective agents such as bacteria and viruses, sugar uptake in response to insulin and the proper reaction of cells to growth factors-a feature important in normal development and that is often inappropriately regulated in cancer. We are studying the biophysics of how proteins in the cell perform the complex processes required to direct proteins to sub-cellular locations. Another major project in the lab investigates how oncogenic mutations in signal transduction cascades can initiate the global coordinated changes in diverse aspects of cell physiology that are required to generate a tumor.
We use number of approaches in these projects including advanced microscopic, biochemical, genetic, and cell biological techniques. We use the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae as a model organism for much of our work, this easy to grow and genetically tractable organism is a powerful first line of attack to many problems.
Biol 205-Cell and Developmental Biology Spring semester
Biol 531-HIV drug discovery Fall semesters on even years
Biol 591/831-Membrane traffic in human disease