Congratulations to Michel Bagnat upon receiving a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar award.  This award provides funding to early-career scientists who have great potential to make unique contributions to their field. 

Duke Department of Cell Biology

Cell Biology is one of the eight basic science Departments of Duke Medical Center. Faculty of our Department are internationally recognized for their research, which excels in basic biomedical research at the cellular, molecular, structural, and organismal level. Another important mission of the Department is to prepare graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and medical students for successful and rewarding careers in academic, clinical, and non-academic settings. Members of Cell Biology work together to generate a supportive, enthusiastic, and diverse environment that fosters the innovative and creative ideas that drives our science. Learn more....

In the news

This colorful graph shows a peak of abnormal epileptic brain activity in a brain's hippocampus in which an inhibitory protein called InSyn1 has been depleted by CRISPR, causing surrounding brain tissue to become overexcited.

This colorful graph shows a peak of abnormal epileptic brain activity in a brain's hippocampus in which an inhibitory protein called InSyn1 has been depleted by CRISPR, causing surrounding brain tissue to become overexcited.

Inhibitory synapses act as the brakes in the brain, preventing it from becoming overexcited. Researchers thought they were less sophisticated than their excitatory counterparts because relatively few proteins were known to exist at these structures. But a new study by the Soderling Lab, published Sept. 9 in Science, overturns that assumption, uncovering 140 proteins that have never been mapped to inhibitory synapses.  “It’s like these proteins were locked away in a safe for over 50 years, and we believe that our study has cracked open the safe,” said the study’s senior investigator Scott Soderling, an Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology at Duke. “And there’s a lot of gems.”  In particular, 27 of these proteins have already been implicated by genome-wide association studies as having a role in autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy, Soderling said, suggesting that their mechanisms at the synapse could provide new avenues to the understanding and treatment of these disorders.  You can read more about this research on Duke Today.

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