The Duke Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program will be hosting Dr. Elizabeth Chen's on January 23rd for the DSCB colloquium. Her research program is focused on muscle development and regeneration, cell-cell fusion, and mechanobiology.
About Elizabeth Chen, PhD:
Dr. Elizabeth Chen studies mechanisms underlying cell-cell fusion, a cellular process critical for the conception, development, regeneration and physiology of multicellular organisms. Her lab has discovered an evolutionarily conserved cellular mechanism underlying cell-cell fusion whereby one cell invades its fusion partner using actin-propelled membrane protrusions to promote fusion pore formation. They have also discovered dynamic mechanosensory responses in the receiving fusion partner and demonstrated that mechanical tension is a driving force for cell fusion. Dr. Chen's work to date has established a biophysical framework for understanding cell-cell fusion – the protrusive and resisting forces from two fusion partners put the fusogenic synapse under high mechanical tension, which helps to overcome energy barriers for cell membrane apposition and fusion.