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Lab Members

Randy Schekman
schekman at berkeley dot edu

A brief biography of Randy on the HHMI website.

News about Randy's 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine (plus lab photos from the day the award was announced).

Photos from the Schekman Symposium held in August 2014.

Liz Alexander-Asher (Executive Assistant)

The Schekman lab is saddened to announce that Liz died suddenly on September 11, 2015. Her skill in coordinating Randy's crazy travel and appointments calendar and providing other administrative support to the lab will be sorely missed.

Renan Aparicio (undergrad)
renan dot aparicio at berkeley dot edu

Several transmembrane proteins have been implicated as genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD).  These proteins interact with and alter the metabolism of the AD-associated amyloid precursor protein (APP), but little is understood about how they influence APP's sorting and the production of amyloid-beta.  I am using the CRISPR-Cas9 system to delete the genes encoding selected AD risk factors and determine how they influence APP sorting and metabolism.

Johannes Freitag (post-doc)
johannesf at berkeley dot edu

Peroxisomes are nearly ubiquitous organelles with a variety of metabolic functions including the degradation of fatty acids. I study peroxisome biogenesis in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In particular, I am interested in proteins and membranes required for the formation of peroxisomes in the absence of pre-existing peroxisomes. To identify these molecules I will perform genetic screens as well as biochemical reconstitution experiments.

Liang Ge (post-doc)
lge19830626 at gmail dot com

Autophagy is a fundamental intracellular transport pathway, and is considered to be an essential pro-survival process in stress conditions. Although the origin of the autophagosome has been a subject of intense study, it has been difficult to resolve using current imaging techniques. I plan to establish an in vitro autophagosome formation assay to assist in answering this question and to characterize the newly formed autophagosomes, so as to gain insight into autophagy initiation and regulation.

Amita Gorur (grad student)
agorur at lbl dot gov

The molecular underpinnings of procollagen trafficking in cells has confounded cell biologists for decades. Recent work has shown that mono-ubiquitination of Sec31 by the ubiquitin ligase complex Cul3-Klhl12 leads to the formation of enlarged vesicles that drive the secretion of collagen. My goal is to understand the role of these vesicles in collagen transport.

Juliet Hemmati (undergrad)
juliethemmati at berkeley dot edu

The cell’s Coat Protein Complex II (COPII) mediated secretory pathway is responsible for the secretion of collagen, the most abundant protein found in mammals. Through the use of molecular and cell biology techniques, I am studying the role of COPII in the trafficking of procollagen.

Bob Lesch (lab manager)
lesch at berkeley dot edu

Dawei Liu (undergrad)
dawei.liu at berkeley dot edu

Vesicular trafficking is a fundamental pathway for the material and information flow between organelles, as well as a means to remodel the cellular endomembrane in response to different stresses. Autophagy is a process during which de novo formation of a double-membrane structure, the autophagosome, forms to sequester part of the cytoplasm for delivery to the lysosome for degradation. Recently, molecular machineries and membrane compartments involved in autophagy have also been implied in other fundamental cellular processes, such as unconventional secretion. My project aims to uncover the molecular and membrane connections between vesicular trafficking, autophagy and unconventional secretion by systematic approaches of genetics, biochemistry, imaging and mass spectrometry.

Anandita Mathur (undergrad)
anandita at berkeley dot edu

Autophagy is a catabolic intracellular process through which cytoplasmic components are self-digested. FYCO1 is an autophagy relevant protein and the goal of my project is to figure out which portion of FYCO1 binds to COPII machinery by making truncations from the N-terminus and C-terminus.

David Melville (post-doc)
afroginawell at gmail dot com

Sar1, one of the five core COPII components, is a highly conserved small GTPase. Mammals have two paralogs of Sar1, SAR1A and SAR1B, which share 90% sequence identity. Despite their high similarity, it has been found that mutations in SAR1B, but not SAR1A, are associated with Chylomicron retention disease in humans. I am using a lipid secreting rat cell line to illuminate the paralog specific functions of Sar1 and the relationship between Sar1 and the COPII outer coat.

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Claudia Morales (lab assistant)
moralesacg at yahoo dot com

Lelio Orci (collaborator)
lelio.orci at medecine dot unige dot ch

Sayaka Ri (undergrad)
leesayaka at berkeley dot edu

Coat Protein Complex 2 (COPII) traffics cargo from the ER to the Golgi. I will be studying the role of COPII in trafficking collagen, an example of large cargo. To do this, I will employ the techniques of electron microscopy and molecular biology.

Lior Shtayer (undergrad)
lior.shtayer at berkeley dot edu

Matt Shurtleff (grad student)
mshurtleff at berkeley dot edu

Exosomes are 70-100 nm vesicles that are released extracellularly upon fusion of the multivesicular body with the plasma membrane. Recently, these vesicles have been recognized as signaling vehicles in various normal and pathological conditions. Despite growing interest in exosomes, the molecular mechanisms governing selective packaging of molecular cargo remain undefined. I am seeking to understand how miRNAs are generally enriched in exosomes and how specific miRNAs are selectively packaged.

Dan Sirkis (post-doc)
dan dot sirkis at gmail dot com

Several membrane and secreted proteins have been implicated in neurodegenerative disease pathogenesis. Much of the work on these proteins has focused on how they mediate toxicity, but little is known about the mechanisms controlling their export from the Golgi apparatus. I am using cell biological methods and biochemical reconstitution to understand how such proteins are transported from the Golgi to downstream destinations.

Morayma Temoche-Diaz (grad student)
morayma.temoche-diaz at berkeley dot edu

Exosomes export selectively packaged protein and RNA cargoes to the extracellular space. I am using novel biochemical approaches to investigate how cargoes are specifically sorted into distinct vesicle sub-populations. In the long-term, I am interested in understanding the role of exosome cargoes in normal and cancer cell biology.

Julien Villeneuve (visiting scholar)
julienvilleneuve81 at gmail dot com

Most of the secreted proteins transit into and through the ER and the Golgi apparatus. However, eukaryotic cells secrete a class of proteins which do not enter the ER. Very little is known about this “unconventional secretory pathway”. The last protein identified to be secreted by this pathway is aP2, a cytoplasmic fatty acid-binding protein, which is secreted unconventionally by adipocytes to control glucose liver metabolism. Using cellular and biochemical approaches I aim to reveal the mechanisms required in the process of aP2 secretion.

Sabrina Washington (Executive Administrative Assistant)
s.washington at berkeley dot edu

Livy Wilz (grad student)
lwilz at berkeley dot edu

Autophagy is a critical cellular homeostasis pathway that allows the cell to respond to nutritional stress. I am interested in how autophagy activity is regulated and how this regulation is translated into autophagosome formation. To do this, I am focusing on understanding how the the autophagy-specific PI3 kinase complex regulates this process. This involves using a recently established in vitro autophagy assay to characterize the role that each complex component plays in autophagy initiation.

Lin Yuan (grad student)
linyuan at berkeley dot edu

Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals and it functions to maintain tissue integrity. It is secreted by the cell via the COPII mediated secretory pathway. I am interested in learning how the rigid procollagen fibers that are 300nm in length are packaged into COPII vesicles that are typically 60nm in diameter.

Min Zhang (post-doc)
minzhang at berkeley dot edu

Mammalian cells secrete proteins mainly through the conventional ER–Golgi secretory pathway. However, some cytoplasmic proteins are released in an unconventional manner independent of ER and Golgi. Autophagy, a cellular process characterized by de novo formation of double membrane structures for intracellular material degradation, contributes to one aspect of unconventional secretion, such as the secretion of IL-1beta. However, the molecular mechanism of autophagy-mediated protein secretion is unclear. Using IL-1beta as a marker, I plan to establish a cell-free system to uncover the mechanism of autophagy-related unconventional secretion.

Pengcheng Zhang (grad student)
pczhang at berkeley dot edu

In mammals, Vangl2 is an important protein for the proper development of the neural tube. Mislocalization of this protein leads to defects in the development of the neural tube and other tissues. My project focuses on examining the role of Dishevelled in the ER export of Vangl2.

Former Lab Members

Other photos:

Hooding of Pengcheng (2015)
Angel Island Hike (2014)
Schekman Symposium (2014)
Nobel Prize day (2013)

Regina's Graduation (2011)
CDB Retreat (2010)
Tilden Park (2010)
Devon's Farewell Lunch (2010)
Group Photo 2008
Group Photo 2006
Sea Ranch 2006

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