Structure and function of cellular machinery in human parasites


My lab is dedicated to the experimental and computational application of cryo-ET for structural determination of biological macromolecules or biological machinery in single-celled parasites that cause important human diseases. I am particularly interested in understanding the molecules transportation, organelle biogenesis and their regulations in the invasion process of the malaria parasites (or related apicomplexan parasites) and the migration of Trypanosoma brucei that causes African sleeping sickness in humans and Nagano in cattle. Our research is to visualize the organization of cellular structures and their coordination in 3D spatial organization through a multi-scale imaging platform ranging from microns to sub-nanometers, to elucidate the molecular and structure functions that drive cell migration or invasion. Crucially, the novel cryo-ET analysis developed will also broadly enable the study of molecular machines in other complex biological contexts.






B.S. 2008, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Ph.D. 2014, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Postdoctoral Training

2014-2016, Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore
2016-2017, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, United States
2017-2021, Stanford University, Stanford, United States

Stella Sun
Department of Structural Biology
University of Pittsburgh
2050 Biomedical Science Tower 3
3501 5th Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Phone: (412) 648-9959
Fax: (412) 648-9008


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