David Stephens Lab
Imaging membrane dynamics: Membrane traffic in the secretory pathway
The lab uses a combination of approaches to address the molecular mechanisms underlying membrane traffic and cytoskeletal function in eukaryotic cells.
The principle focus of our current work is the COPII complex in mammalian cells. We have recently identified the first metazoan orthologue of Sec16, which we show plays a key role in COPII function in mammals. In addition, we are continuing our work on the role of microtubule motor proteins in membrane traffic with a particular emphasis on ER-to-Golgi transport. Further information can be found on our Current Research page. The lab specializes in the analysis of membrane traffic in mammalian cells using advanced light microscopy techniques, in particular, the imaging of living cells. Those interested in these imaging experiments should link to our microscopy section where you will find a Windows Media Video file that gives a summary the approaches for live cell imaging that we are using. Our work includes developing imaging technologies and integrating model systems including 3D cultures and zebrafish to develop our research. Central to the success of our projects is the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility and our key collaborations with other labs.
Details of all of our published work can be found on our Publications page.
You can find out more about what is going on and in particular what we are thinking about in the lab on our Blog. See Stephens Lab Blog.
Please click here if looking to request reagents from us. If you wish to get in touch please see our CONTACT page which includes phone, fax, email and Skype account details.
Ours is very much a basic science approach to biomedical research. The biggest challenges facing us are how to define the molecular machineries involved at the nano-scale but also at the level of more complex systems, whether that means intact cells or developing organisms. Consequently, we are exploiting methodoligies that include imaging at high resolution - nanometre (or nanometer if you are American) tracking of fluorescent objects, electron microscopy, TIRF microscopy, deconvolution and 3D reconstruction, and mathematical modelling. Each technology is applied as required to a specific biological problem. The biology drives the technology in every case.. These tools enable us to define the molecular basis of cellular function which we now ally to other tools from relevant cell culture models (such as primary fibroblasts and Caco-2 cysts) to zebrafish genetic experiments. All of our projects seek to define the molecular basis for membrane and cytoskeleton function in cells.
- The lab is based within the School of Biochemistry at the University of Bristol. The lab is a key part of a strong cell biology focus of the Faculty which includes excellent facilities for microscopy, proteomics and high performance computing. We work closely with other Cell Biology labs in the University as part of a cohesive network of researchers with common interests. This network of labs includes those of Jo Adams, Mark Bass, Pete Cullen, Harry Mellor, Jeremy Tavare, George Banting, Jon Lane, Paul Verkade, Kate Nobes and Paul Martin. This grouping forms a highly collegiate network of colleagues with whom we interact on multiple levels from informal discussion to full collaboration; it also forms the basis for our Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD Programme in Dynamic Cell Biology.
- The lab itself is using high resolution light microscopy of living cells, notably live cell imaging, in 3D over time, to examine the organization and function of the early part of the mammalian secretory pathway. See our current research page for more details.
Our aim is that integrated approach ("from nano- to Danio
) will provide better progress towards our goals.
Work in the lab is very generously funded by the MRC, BBSRC, and Wellcome Trust, with previous funding British Heart Foundation and Royal Society.
None of this work would be possible without our key collaborators:
Single particle tracking at nanometre resolution: Andrew Hudson (Leicester)
Electron Microscopy: Paul Verkade (Bristol);
Motor proteins in endocytic sorting: Pete Cullen (Bristol)