Welcome to the Cappell Lab at NIH!

The goal of our research is to understand how signal transduction networks are wired to form logical circuits and to understand how these networks function in space and time to regulate diverse aspects of human physiology. The mammalian signaling machinery is complex, highly dynamic, and typically exhibits significant cell-to-cell variability. Therefore direct measurements of signaling components in live cells combined with acute perturbations are needed in order to understand the logic of mammalian signal transduction. Our approach is to combine live-cell imaging of fluorescent biosensors with genetic and pharmacological perturbations to identify regulatory mechanisms of signal transduction pathways. In particular, we are interested in understanding how cells make fate decisions, such as the decision to enter the cell cycle and proliferate.

There is significant cell-to-cell variability in the timing of cell cycle events, making it difficult to understand the normal cell cycle regulatory network. To address this challenge, we use automated cell tracking algorithms that allow us to track thousands of cells simultaneously for multiple days and watch in real-time as they progress through the cell cycle.

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We use custom Matlab scripts to automatically identify and quantify multiple parameters using fluorescent biosensors, immunofluorescence, or single molecule mRNA FISH.

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Live-cell biosensors help reveal the dynamic regulation of signaling pathways. They are particularly powerful for studying the cell cycle because the control mechanisms underlying cell cycle regulation are complex and highly dynamic, operating at both short- and long-term time scales. There is great need for additional live-cell biosensors and our lab develops and applies new biosensors to important biological questions. 

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Lab News


September 2017: The Cappell Lab is open!

The Cappell Lab is officially open at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. We are now accepting applications for Post-docs and Post-bacs. If you are interested, please email me a cover letter describing your interest in our lab, your CV, and contact information for 3 references.


February 2018: A new member joins the lab!

Jenny Nathans joined the lab as a Post-bac after graduating from Yale in December. Welcome aboard Jenny!