Annual Meeting

Shining lights on the cell

A Discover BMB symposium: Cell Signaling — New Tools and Emerging Concepts
Jin Zhang Kevin H. Gardner
By Jin Zhang and Kevin H. Gardner
Sept. 23, 2022

The cellular machinery is a remarkable system that is able to regulate myriad life processes with exquisite specificity by responding to a variety of environmental cues. This essential regulation is achieved through a network of highly dynamic signaling molecules that are regulated both spatially and temporally.

Inspired by nature’s fluorescent proteins and photosensors, biochemists have made tremendous advances toward developing new classes of genetically encoded protein tools to detect and control signaling activities with high spatiotemporal precision. With these new tools, new kinds of biochemistry, biology and cell biology are being discovered on a regular basis.

For the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting, Discover BMB, in Seattle in March, we have assembled symposia featuring some of the top experts in these diverse fields who will discuss new tools for manipulating and visualizing the activity of enzymes and other classes of protein activity in living cells across a range of settings. As an example of the impact of these tools, we will highlight the emerging field of liquid–liquid phase separation as an organizing principle of cell signaling uniquely identified by advances in our ability to probe and control biomolecules in vitro and in cells.

Keywords: Optogenetics, fluorescent biosensors, protein engineering, phase separation.

Who should attend: Biochemists, cell biologists and protein engineers interested in novel protein-based tools to observe and control cellular behavior as well as new concepts in cellular organization that have emerged from use of these reagents.

Theme song: “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd.

This session is powered by high-quality photons — from the UV to the infrared.


Toolkit for native biochemistry: Sensors, actuators and computational tools
Kevin H. Gardner (chair), City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center
Klaus HahnUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sabrina SpencerUniversity of Colorado Boulder
David van ValenCalifornia Institute of Technology

Spatiotemporal control of cellular signaling
Jin Zhang (chair), University of California, San Diego
Mark von ZastrowUniversity of California, San Francisco
Lukasz BugajUniversity of Pennsylvania
Anton BennettYale University

Liquid–liquid phase separation as a signaling paradigm
Christine Mayr (chair), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Zhijian "James" ChenUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Sarah VeatchUniversity of Michigan
Shana Elbaum–GarfinkleCity University of New York Advanced Science Research Center

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Jin Zhang
Jin Zhang

Jin Zhang is a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and co-director of the Cell Signaling Center at UCSD.

Kevin H. Gardner
Kevin H. Gardner

Kevin H. Gardner is a professor at the City College of New York and director of the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center’s Structural Biology Initiative.

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