Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

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Linda Barthel of the Raymond Lab.
Members of the Chapman Lab.
Michael O'Connor of the Chapman Lab.
Members of the Jakob Lab.

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The Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology strives to develop new knowledge through basic research about the function of living organisms with focus on the molecular and cellular levels of all branches of life - bacteria, plants, and animals. Our faculty research strengths are animal physiology and neurobiology, biochemistry, cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology and plant molecular biology. We are home to the undergraduate concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology that graduates nearly 200 students per year. Our General Public and Pre-College Students section offers answers to questions about biology. We hope you find our site informative!
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MCDB News
Undergraduates
and their faculty adviser, Ray Barbehenn, helped explain an observation that had puzzled insect ecologists who study gypsy moth caterpillars. Read more.

MCDB News
Elaina Breznau,
a graduate student in the Miller Lab, was recently awarded a Journal of Cell Science Travelling Fellowship. Read more.

MCDB News
Lilia Popova,
a member of the Schiefelbein Lab, has been selected as a 2013 Intel Science Talent Search Finalist. Read more.

MCDB News
MCDB Professors
James Bardwell, Jianming Li, and Eran Pichersky have been named American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows. Read more.

MCDB News
Adnan Syed,
a PhD student in the Boles Lab, was recently awarded an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. Read more.

MCDB News
Professor Emeritus
Sally Allen
passed away November 13, 2012 at age 86 after a brief illness. Sally was professor of biology for over 30 years and was a tireless and dedicated researcher and lecturer. Read more.

Read more MCDB News
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Functional Amyloids Composed of Phenol Soluble Modulins Stabilize Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm
PLoS Pathog 8(6): e1002744. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002744
Schwartz K, Syed AK, Stephenson RE, Rickard AH, Boles BR

Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic pathogen that colonizes the skin and mucosal surfaces of mammals. Persistent staphylococcal infections often involve surface-associated communities called biofilms. Here we report the discovery of a novel extracellular fibril structure that promotes S. aureus biofilm integrity. Biochemical and genetic analysis has revealed that these fibers have amyloid-like properties and consist of small peptides called phenol soluble modulins (PSMs). Mutants unable to produce PSMs were susceptible to biofilm disassembly by matrix degrading enzymes and mechanical stress. Previous work has associated PSMs with biofilm disassembly, and we present data showing that soluble PSM peptides disperse biofilms while polymerized peptides do not. This work suggests the PSMs' aggregation into amyloid fibers modulates their biological activity and role in biofilms. Read this Publication Read All Featured Publications
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