Seminar: Brian Belardi, UC Berkeley

The Department welcomes Brian Belardi, UC Berkeley. Dr. Belardi’s seminar is titled, “Uncovering Epithelial Organizing Principles through Membrane Engineering”.

Epithelial cells accomplish a number of remarkable feats in the human body through chemically rich membrane structures. Epithelial membranes help protect the body from pathogens, they help form the complex shapes of organs, and they help excrete waste and take up nutrients necessary for homeostasis and survival. Many of these functions are so central to normal physiology that when disrupted lead directly to disease, such as cancer and transport disorders. Yet, how membrane structures – membrane proteins and glycans, in particular –execute many of the varied functions of epithelial tissue remains unresolved. To overcome the challenges associated with such a complex biochemical environment, I’ve developed methods for engineering cell membranes with molecular precision. In this talk, I will discuss two discoveries in epithelial biology enabled by membrane engineering. In the first part of the talk, I will describe how membrane glycans control mammary gland morphogenesis and tumorigenesis, and in the second part of the talk, I will detail the discovery of a complex and its unique biophysical characteristics that set epithelial tissue permeability. Findings from each of these projects have led to new therapeutic strategies, several of which I will highlight throughout the talk.

Dr. Brian Belardi is a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Post-Doctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, working under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Fletcher. He received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. He completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. His research is focused on developing bespoke molecular and cellular technologies to probe, perturb, and re-program biological barriers

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