Department of Cell Biology


Research in the Department of Cell Biology is focused on understanding molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in eukaryotic cells. Using mammalian cells, yeast, viruses, fruit flies and transgenic mice, we are investigating mechanisms of DNA replication and repair, control of the cell cycle and apoptosis, roles for transcriptional regulation and chromatin structure in gene expression, RNA processing, intracellular trafficking, membrane fusion and budding, mechanisms of generating antibody diversity, and the functions of cell surface sugars. 

In the News


Dachuan Zhang, a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Frenette, is a recipient of the 2016 Julius Marmur Research Awards. Dachuan will present his award-winning study, entitled “Neutrophil aging is regulated by the microbiome", along with other recipients of the awards at the 20th Annual Julius Marmur Research Symposium on Monday, March 21, 2016. Congratulations Dachuan!



Welcome New Cell Biology Faculty! Britta Will, Ph.D. was appointed assistant professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology in December 2015.
Dr. Will received her Ph.D. training at Harvard Medical School and the University of Freiburg, Germany. Prior to this appointment, Britta did outstanding research on the regulation of normal hematopoietic and malignant stem cell function under Dr. Ulrich Steidl’s mentorship.
Her research program dissects how age-related changes in gene-regulatory mechanisms contribute to hematopoietic stem cell failure and malignant transformation and exploits a combination of genetic mouse models, primary human specimen and cutting-edge molecular and cell biological assay systems.
Dr. Will’s laboratory is located in Room 401 of the Chanin Building. [web page]



The Department of Cell Biology would like to congratulate Dr. Arthur Skoultchi, Chairman of the Department, who is the recipient of the 2015 Faculty Mentoring Award.
The ceremony will be held at 4:30PM, December 10, 2015, in Lubin Dining Hall.



Dr. Kira Gritsman, Assistant Professor in Medicine and Cell Biology, is the recipient of a 3-year Sinsheimer Scholar award. The grant was made to support her research on the roles of PI3 Kinase in myeloid leukemia cells and their bone marrow niche. Congratulations!



The Department of Cell Biology would like extend a very warm welcome to our newest faculty member, Associate Professor Dr. Matthew Gamble. Dr. Gamble has been on the faculty in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology since 2009. He was recently promoted to Associate Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and he will join our department with a secondary appointment as Associate Professor of Cell Biology. Several labs in our department have already had very fruitful interactions with Dr. Gamble and his lab members. Dr Gamble’s research interests include mechanisms of mammalian gene regulation at the levels of transcription and splicing, chromatin structure and function and their impact on malignant transformation, cellular senescence and DNA repair mechanisms, with a focus on the role macro domain-containing proteins. His laboratory is located in 203 Golding Building.



The Department of Cell Biology would like to congratulate Michael Willcockson, an MD/PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Arthur Skoultchi, who has been awarded an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship for his proposal, “Regulators of the Erythroid Terminal Differentiation Decision and their Connection to the Cell Cycle".



Britta Will, Instructor in Cell Biology, has received a prestigious 2-year research grant from the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. She will use the funding to characterize molecular abnormalities in HSCs of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome in order to develop mechanism-based therapeutic approaches.



Inaugural Honoree — The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) has selected Dr. Matthew Scharff as the first-ever recipient of its inaugural 2015 AAI-BioLegend Herzenberg Award, which he will receive this spring during a special session at IMMUNOLOGY2015™. The honor recognizes an individual who has made exemplary research contributions to the field of B cell biology. Dr. Scharff is world-renowned as a pioneer in the development and application of monoclonal antibodies, which have become a cornerstone in biomedical research. He is distinguished professor of Cell Biology and of Medicine, as well as the Harry Eagle Chair in Cancer Research/National Women's Division and faculty supervisor of the Hybridoma and Tissue Culture Facility. The AAI-BioLegend Herzenberg Award was established, with support from BioLegend to honor the memory of AAI member Dr. Leonard A. Herzenberg.


Congratulations to Dr. Travis Bernardo and Dr. Barnali Biswas for winning Postdoctoral Fellowship awards!


Dr. Travis Bernardo, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Skoultchi lab, is the recipient of a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA F32 Fellowship from the NIH.


Dr. Barnali Biswas, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Stanley lab, is the recipient of a Postdoctoral Fellowship from The Lalor Foundation.



On 5/6/2015, Dr. Pamela Stanley gave a lecture in the NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS), which is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Her lecture was entitled “ Glycans that regulate development and notch signaling”.



Dr. Barbara Birshtein has been selected as this year’s recipient of the LaDonne H. Shulman Award for Excellence in Teaching. The recipient of this award is nominated and selected by the graduate students as a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary skill in teaching and mentoring.
Of special note: This is the second time that Barbara has received this award!
Congratulations to Barbara on this very appropriate recognition of her dedication and teaching and mentoring skills by the graduate students.


Election to fellow is an honor bestowed upon American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) members by their peers. In 2014, 401 AAAS members were awarded this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Among the six AECOM faculty members who received this distinction, three are members of the Department of Cell Biology.


Margaret Kielian, Ph.D. – Elected for distinguished contributions to the field of virology, particularly for studies on the alphavirus and flavivirus membrane fusion proteins and on virus entry and exit. Dr. Kielian is Professor of Cell Biology and Samuel H. Golding Chair in Microbiology.


Richard Kitsis, M.D. – Elected for distinguished contributions to fundamental and translational aspects of cell death, particularly for originating and driving the field of cell death in the heart. Dr. Kitsis is Professor of Medicine and of Cell Biology, the Dr. Gerald and Myra Dorros Chair in Cardiovascular Disease and Director of the Wilf Family Cardiovascular Research Institute at Einstein and attending physician, cardiology at Montefiore Medical Center.


Robert Singer, Ph.D. – Elected for distinguished contributions to the development and application of imaging technologies and insights into the kinetics and spatial distributions of single mRNAs in living cells. Dr. Singer is Professor and Co-Chair of Anatomy & Structural Biology, Professor of Neuroscience and of Cell Biology, Co-Director of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center and of the Integrated Imaging Program, and the Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Anatomy & Structural Biology.


[read more]

New Publications

From the Steidl lab - Okoye-Okafor UC, Bartholdy B, Cartier J, Gao EN, Pietrak B, Rendina AR, Rominger C, Quinn C, Smallwood A, Wiggall KJ, Reif AJ, Schmidt SJ, Qi H, Zhao H, Joberty G, Faelth-Savitski M, Bantscheff M, Drewes G, Duraiswami C, Brady P, Groy A, Narayanagari SR, Antony-Debre I, Mitchell K, Wang HR, Kao YR, Christopeit M, Carvajal L, Barreyro L, Paietta E, Makishima H, Will B, Concha N, Adams ND, Schwartz B, McCabe MT, Maciejewski J, Verma A, Steidl U. New IDH1 mutant inhibitors for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Nature Chemical Biology (2015); doi:10.1038/nchembio.1930
• Neomorphic mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) are common in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). A novel class of allosteric IDH1 inhibitors is effective against multiple clinically relevant mutants, promoting differentiation of AML blasts and stem-like cells and restoring DNA cytosine methylation patterns.

From the Kielian Lab - Fields, W. Kielian, M. Interactions Involved in pH Protection of the Alphavirus Fusion Protein. Virology 486:173-179. (2015).
• Using site-directed mutagenesis and revertant analysis, we define residues that promote pH protection of the alphavirus fusion protein during its transit through the exocytic pathway.

From the Stanley Lab - Huang HH, Hassinen A, Sundaram S, Spiess AN, Kellokumpu S, Stanley P. GnT1IP-L specifically inhibits MGAT1 in the Golgi via its luminal domain. Elife. 2015 Sep 15;4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08916.
• We previously identified a testis-specific inhibitor of complex N-glycan synthesis, GnT1IP-L, and now show that it forms heteromers specifically with the glycosyltransferase MGAT1 in the Golgi but not the ER, is expressed in spermatocytes and spermatids, and is absent in men with Sertoli Only Syndrome.

From the Steidl Lab - Will B, Vogler T, Narayanagari S, Bartholdy B, Todorova TI, Ferreira MS, Chen J, Yu Y, Mayer J, Barreyro L, Carvajal L, Neriah DB, Roth M, Oers J, Schaetzlein S, McMahon C, Edelmann W, Verma A, Steidl U, . Minimal PU.1 reduction induces a preleukemic state and promotes development of acute myeloid leukemia. Nature Medicine (2015); doi:10.1038/nm.3936.
• Minimal reduction of the transcription factor PU.1 is sufficient to elicit a preleukemic stem cell state that, when combined with a DNA mismatch repair defect, results in progression to myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.

From the Kielian Lab - Zheng, Y., Kielian, M. An Alphavirus Temperature-Sensitive Capsid Mutant Reveals Stages of Nucleocapsid Assembly. Virology 484:412-420.
• A capsid protein insertion mutant reveals that the alphavirus nucleocapsid is stabilized by interactions with the envelope proteins during virus assembly.

From the Schildkraut Lab - William C. Drosopoulos *, Settapong Kosiyatrakul and Carl L. Schildkraut*. *Corresponding author. BLM helicase facilitates telomere replication during leading strand synthesis of telomeres. Journal of Cell Biology 2015 Jul 20,210:191.
• This study presents an analysis of mammalian telomere replication, demonstrating for the first time, that the BLM syndrome-associated helicase (BLM) acts to resolve telomeric G4 structures to assist in telomere replication.


Departmental Office

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Chanin Building, Room 405
New York, New York 10461

Telephone : 718.430.2815
Fax : 718.430.8574
Email : 



Upcoming Events

Friday, 2/12/16
Stephen Braigen
Mentor: Dr. Query


Journal Club
Wednesday, 2/10/16
Sean Healton
Jiahao Chen

Mentor: Dr. Skoultchi / Dr. Steidl

Wednesday, 2/24/16
Dayle Hodge
Judy Wan

Mentor: Dr. Guo/Dr. Kielian


Outside Speaker
Wednesday, 2/17/16
12:00 noon
Fifth Floor Lecture Hall
Forchheimer Building
Dr. Antonio Iavatone
Host: Dr. Augenlicht


Friday Get Together

Friday, 2/19/16
Host: The Skoultchi Lab

Complete Event Listing 

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