Beckman Symposium 2012 - Diseases of Molecular Motors and Cytoskeleton

May 21, 2012 | Berg Hall - Li Ka Shing Center


9:00 - 9:20

Lucy Shapiro, Director of the Beckman Center, Stanford University

James Spudich, Symposium Chair, Stanford University

Opening Remarks
9:25 - 10:05 Lawrence Goldstein, UC San Diego Stem Cells, Motors and Alzheimer’s Disease
10:10 - 10:50  David Spector, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Nuclear Organization & Gene Expression
10:55 - 11:35 Robert Goldman, Northwestern University Lamins: Building Blocks of Nuclear Architecture
11:35 - 1:00 LUNCH  


1:00 - 1:40 Euan Ashley, Stanford University Familial Hypertrophic and Dilated Cardiomyopathies (tentative)
1:45 - 2:25 Elizabeth McNally, University of Chicago Cardiomyopathy Genetics Beyond the Sarcomere
2:25 - 2:40 BREAK  
2:40 - 3:20 Leslie Leinwand, University of Colorado, Boulder Redefining Snake Oil: Cardioprotective Mechanisms in Pythons Applied to Mammals
3:25 - 4:05 James Spudich, Stanford University Molecular Approaches to Hypertrophic and Dilated Cardiomyopathies
4:05 - 4:15 James Spudich, Stanford University Closing Remarks

Speaker Profiles

Euan Ashley is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular) at the Stanford University School of Medicine and is director of the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease, the Stanford Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, and the Stanford Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Laboratory. His laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular genetics of myocardial adaptation, the process by which the heart adapts to exercise or disease stress. The lab uses an integrated systems approach using genomic analysis to identify gene expression networks and bench tools to define causality in the biology of key genes and signaling systems. The lab also studies inherited cardiovascular diseases including cardiomyopathy and inherited arrhythmia syndromes and the apelin-APJ signaling system’s connection to heart failure and cardiovascular disease.

Robert Goldman is the Stephen W. Ranson Professor and Chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. His laboratory’s research focus is on the structure and function of cytoskeletal systems, particularly the intermediate filament (IF) system in fibroblasts, epithelial cells, and nerve cells. Using a variety of techniques, the lab has demonstrated that IFs form elaborates networks that course throughout the cytoplasm and establish connections with both the nuclear and cell surfaces. The lab is developing models to study the mechanisms involved in IF alterations in various diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). They have been able to induce neurofibrillary tangles to form in single cultured nerve cells. These tangles are similar to those found in ALS neurons and therefore, the lab has been able to study the effects of neurofilament tangle formation in a single cell.

Lawrence Goldstein is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego. The primary goal of his laboratory is to unravel the way in which molecular motors interact with and control the behavior of axonal vesicles, and to relate this understanding to the molecular basis of neuronal defects in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Niemann Pick Type C disease. The laboratory uses pluripotent stem cell lines that contain known mutations that cause hereditary AD, as well as a series of embryonic stem cell lines in which expression of the gene that causes Niemann Pick Type C disease is reduced as in true human disease. They use these stem cell lines and animal models to probe basic mechanisms of vesicle movement and sorting in neurons, and how such mechanisms inter-relate with disease development.

Leslie Leinwand is a Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her laboratory is interested in understanding how the genetic landscape of the mammalian heart shifts during feeding, exercise, pregnancy, and disease. One of the diseases the group focuses on is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes. To understand the pathogenesis of the disease, the lab has used approaches ranging from biophysical analysis of mutant proteins to analysis in genetically manipulated mice. One novel approach has been the use of the Burmese python as a study organism. The python’s heart and liver experience rapid hypertrophy on ingestion of a meal, a hypertrophy similar to the beneficial heart enlargement experienced by trained athletes. Genetic analysis of this type of adaptive response may lead to the development of therapeutic treatments that promote the beneficial growth of heart cells.

Elizabeth McNally is a Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where she is also director of the Institute for Cardiovascular Research. Dr. McNally’s research has focused on the genetics of heart and muscle diseases. Her laboratory studies the cellular mechanisms by which genetic mutations lead to cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmias, and vascular spasm. Her research focuses on the dystrophin glycoprotein complex, which is involved in muscular dystrophies, and includes sarcoglycans, which help stabilize the plasma membrane of both cardiac and skeletal muscle. McNally’s lab has discovered a number of genetic regions involved in familial cardiomyopathy that are involved in normal electrical conduction in the heart. They have also uncovered genetic associations between cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy through the study of sarcoglycans.

David Spector is the Robert B. Gardner Jr., Professor and Director of Research at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.  His research centers on understanding the spatial organization and regulation of gene expression. The lab’s studies are focused in two main areas: live cell imaging of gene expression, and non-coding RNAs. They have developed a live-cell gene expression system allowing them to visualize a stably integrated regulatable genetic locus, and follow in real-time, transcription of that locus. They are using the system to examine the recruitment of members of the gene expression and silencing machineries and to study the exchange of critical factors at the site of this specific gene locus as it enters into and exits from mitosis. The laboratory is also identifying novel mechanisms of regulating gene expression with the ultimate goal of developing new approaches to understand and treat disease.

James Spudich is the Douglass M. and Nola Leishman Professor of Cardiovascular Disease in the Department of Biochemistry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Spudich’s laboratory studies the molecular basis of cell motility and muscle contraction. The group has three primary research interest: 1) the molecular basis of energy transduction that leads to ATP-driven myosin movement on actin; 2) the biochemical basis of the regulation of actin and myosin interaction and their assembly states; and 3) the roles these proteins play in vivo, in cell movement and changes in cell shape.