Cynthia Damer, associate professor of biology, studies proteins called copines in order to better understsand human blood and immune cell-related diseases.
Her research involves investigating the function of copines, found in most organisms ranging from humans to single-celled organisms such as
Dictyostelium, a powerful model organism for basic biomedical research in cell and developmental biology.
"Dictyostelium serves as a particularly good model for cells of the human immune system because it possesses similar pathways and cellular behaviors," says Damer. "In addition, high levels of copines are found in human cells of the immune system."
Damer and a handful of students use various genetic, biochemical and microscopic techniques to discover the function of copines in Dictyostelium. Once they determine some of these roles, they can apply this knowledge to copine function.
Grant: "Investigating the Function of Copine A in Dictyostelium," National Institutes of Health, $204,972.