Illinois logo MCB The Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Supriya Prasanth


At the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, we study the mechanisms of how cells grow and divide, assemble and function to form multicellular organisms. Using multidisciplinary approaches, we investigate the fundamental biological questions relating to chromatin structure and dynamics; gene regulation; proteostatis; RNA biology; signal transduction in mammalian cell growth and differentiation; cytoskeletal organization and cell adhesion; mechanisms of cell determination, repair, regeneration and developmental patterning. Extensive collaboration with physicists, chemists and engineers have made it possible to investigate the internal workings of cells, and how cells respond to external cues. Our mission is to train and educate undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in the areas of modern molecular and cellular biology, cancer biology, developmental biology and neuro-cognitive sciences.

Supriya Prasanth, Head

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CDB News

Many epithelial tissues are classified as being squamous, cuboidal, or columnar based upon the height of their lateral membranes. CDB researchers Yuou Wang and Bill Brieher identified a protein known as CD2AP as a key factor necessary for building up the lateral membrane.
Epithelial cells use an adhesion molecule known as E-cadherin to help build extensive cell-cell adhesive contacts leading to cohesive sheets of cells that separate two different environments. But what happens if the adhesive bonds holding the cells together fail? CDB researchers John Li, Vivian Tang, and Bill Brieher discovered an actin dependent repair mechanism that operates continuously in epithelial cells to fix broken adhesive contacts.