Autophagy is a major intracellular degradation pathway critical for the health maintenance of eukaryotes. As it is mediated by vesicular trafficking, the degradation capacity of autophagy far surpasses that of the proteasomal pathway. It is the only known pathway capable of eliminating entire organelles. The current explosion of autophagy research was ignited in the 90s by pioneering works of Daniel J. Klionsky and Yoshinori Ohsumi. The identification of autophagy-related (ATG) genes in yeast greatly facilitated the subsequent expansion of research into multicellular organisms and the exploration of the physiological functions of autophagy.
The central step in macroautophagy (the best documented form of autophagy) is the formation of autophagosomes, which are double-membrane vesicles responsible for the sequestration and transport of degradation targets. One main focus of our past and current research is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying the membrane dynamics during autophagosome formation. In addition, we have a general interest in the study of intracellular membrane trafficking and the application of mathematics in biology.
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