Cell Biology


Studying the building blocks of life

All organisms are composed of one or more cells. Although most living things we see are multicellular (made up of many cells) these are only a small fraction of all organisms on Earth. The vast majority of organisms are unicellular (only one cell), like the bacteria in your gut or the yeast that brew your beer. We humans are multicellular organisms made up of 3 trillion cells with more than 200 different cell types! The cost of this complexity is that when one or more cell types fail to do their job we get sick.

Cell biology seeks to understand how cells work and what happens when something goes wrong in a cell. By identifying what is causing a cell to not do its job, scientists can get a better idea about the inner life of the cell. They can also identify targets for therapies to fix what is wrong with the cell. These articles encompass the study of everything from tiny cellular machines to entire organs.

Keep Calm and Methylate On

You stress. Your friends stress. Your cells stress. Learn how cells keep calm by methylating mRNAs.

Shizuka YamadaHeadshot of Shizuka Yamada
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When cells are exposed to acute stresses they react with a series of molecular events collectively termed the 'cellular stress response.' Scientists in the Jaffrey group have revealed a novel method to fine-tuning the specific production of stress response proteins in a process they call m6A cap-independent translation.

Finding the Fountain of Youth

Harnessing tools in your cells to find a cure for aging

Jenny HsuHeadshot of Jenny Hsu
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Have you ever wondered if we could find a cure for aging? Scientists wonder this all the time. It turns out that we might be able to harness how our own cells defy death, and to help them do this better. By working with an important enzyme called telomerase, scientists are getting closer to these goals. But how does telomerase work, and should we depend on it?