Welcome Pisconti and Chowdhury
Dada Pisconti was born inItaly and received her Laurea degree (an integrated Bachelor + Masters) from the University of Perugia, Italy, with a dissertation on Ca-activated K channels in vascular smooth muscle cells. She then received her PhD from the University of Bari, Italy, with a dissertation on the effect of aging on T-lymphocyte signalling. After a short experience at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, where Dada developed an interest in muscle stem cells, she then In for the first time to the US to work in Brad Olwin's lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Here she improved her knowledge and skills in cell signalling and muscle stem cells. She then moved back to Europe to start her own lab at the University of Liverpool, UK, in 2012, where she remained until her second move to the US, in summer 2018, this time as an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University. As an independent scientist, Dada continued to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating muscle stem cell biology and muscle regeneration. Additionally, she expanded her interests in translational research by engaging in a preclinical trial testing a novel potential treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and two biomarker clinical trials. More recently, Dada has been broadening her interests in tissue homeostasis and regeneration by establishing collaborations with colleagues in the mesenchymal stem field and in the bone metabolism field.
Saikat Chowdhury developed his interest in structural biology when he was an undergraduate student in India. While working on modeling of proteins using software packages, he decided to figure out how protein structures are determined experimentally. This curiosity made Saikat join the laboratory of Dr. Tracy Nixon at the Pennsylvania State University for his Ph.D. As a graduate student he used different structural techniques, like X-ray crystallography, solution scattering (X-ray and neutron scattering) and electron microscopy (EM), to understand how Sigma-54 dependent transcription in bacteria is activated by AAA+ ATPase activator proteins. The ability to directly visualize miniscule macromolecular complexes in electron micrographs, made Saikat fall in love with the technique of EM. In order to get trained in advanced electron microscopy, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Gabriel Lander at The Scripps Research Institute for his postdoctoral training. As a postdoc Saikat primarily worked on understanding the intracellular cargo transport mechanism by motor protein dynein. Using a combination of single particle EM and tomography, Saikat provided a groundbreaking structural insight for interpreting decades of biophysical and biochemical work aimed at deciphering the mechanism by which cytoplasmic dynein transport cargo along microtubule tracks. During his time as a postdoc, Saikat also determined the structures of variety of macromolecular complexes of varying sizes and complexity, whose roles ranged from important cellular processes, to CRISPR based bacterial phage defense mechanism. His work also focused towards developing methodologies for resolving structural details in flexible molecules.
Saikat joined the Biochemistry and Cell Biology department at Stony Brook University, as an Assistant professor in September 2018. His lab’s research is focused towards understanding how different cytoskeletal elements work in unison inside the cell, investigate the molecular basis of regulation of these networks, and how these participate in important cellular functions. Combination of biochemical and biophysical techniques, along with cutting edge cryo-EM and novel image processing methodologies are being used by Saikat’s group to answer these long-standing fundamental questions. His lab will not only perform structural studies of purified complexes, but eventually extend these studies to within the cell by using techniques like cryo electron tomography and correlative imaging. The outcome of research performed by Saikat’s lab will provide significant insights into how processes observed at cellular level are regulated by specific molecular interaction, and also shed light into the underlying cause of number of diseases like cancer, delayed wound healing, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.
Saikat is the faculty co-director of the newly established cryo-electron microscopy center at SBU and has joint appointment with Brookhaven National laboratory (BNL). He is working towards the advancement of cryo-EM, both at SBU and also at BNL.
A complete list of Saikat’s publication can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/saikat.chowdhury.1/bibliography/47878940/public/