Autophagy, Organelle damage responses, cell imaging, optogenetics.
We develop and apply optogenetic schemes to perform quatitative measurements within single cells. We currently study the two following inter-related processes within the mammalian system:
Cells utilize autophagosomal membranes to engulf cellular materials (from lipids, proteins, metabolites, entire organelles, to intruding pathogens) for autophagic degradation, and defective autophagy is implicated in a wide range diseases (e.g., neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and aging).
How do cells determine the exact number of autophagosomes that needs to be generated at one time? How do they know precisely when and where autophagosome biogenesis should take place? We investigate questions related to how cells quantitatively tune their autophagosome biogenesis. The answers will provide insights on how autophagy can be utilized for medical interventions.
胞器損傷修復機制 (Organelle damage responses)
Our cells require a healthy pool of organelles to function- they therefore need to respond to organelle damages actively to survive. Gaining insights on how the various organelle damage responses work is attractive to us, as it permits the eventual manipulation of these pathways for extending cellular lifespan. We work toward this goal by combining organelle-specific dyes and targeted illumination to quantitatively elicit organelle dysfunction, and monitor cells’ reactions to this damage. The scheme we use allows one to designate the types of organelles targeted, and also controls the location as well as the extent and degree of the organelle damage that is applied.