Christopher Beh

Professor

Education

  • B.Sc., Biochemistry, and M.Sc., Medical Science (Developmental Biology), University of Calgary 
  • Ph.D., Molecular Biology, Princeton University
  • Post-doc, University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

Cell growth is dictated in large part by the bustling traffic of molecular cargo moving between different membranes within cells. Fats and lipids are perhaps the most difficult cargo to transport. Like oil on water, fats and lipids do not mix well with the cell’s internal fluid and require specialized transport systems to move around. Cholesterol transport represents a good example of this complication. Cholesterol is made within internal membranes and must be transferred to the cell surface, but how it moves is not well understood. Proteins inserted into membranes also present a problem for transport within cells. Vesicle carriers, like small bubbles, bud off internal membranes and target embedded membrane proteins to other recipient membranes. How vesicular transport to-and-from the cell surface is coordinated is still not known, but it is an important regulatory mechanism for controlling cell size and growth. All transport mechanisms we study operate in yeast as well as humans, so we have chosen to exploit the advantages of yeast molecular genetic techniques for manipulating cells. Yeast cells represent simple versions of our own cells, so what we learn in yeast can be applied to understanding transport within human cells. 

For more details, visit our research lab website.

Selected Publications

  • Quon E, Sere YY, Chauhan N, Johansen J, Sullivan DP, Dittman JS, Rice WJ, Chan RB, Di Paolo G, Beh CT, Menon AK (2018). Endoplasmic reticulum-plasma membrane contact sites integrate sterol and phospholipid regulation. PLoS Biol. 16(5):e2003864. PLoS Biol 2018
  • Johansen, J. et al. Polarized exocytosis induces compensatory endocytosis by Sec4p-regulated cortical actin polymerization. PLoS Biol 2016
  • Quon E, Beh CT. (2016) Membrane Contact Sites: Complex Zones for Membrane Association and Lipid Exchange. Lipid Insights. 8(Suppl 1):55-63. Lipid Insights 2016

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Courses

Future courses may be subject to change.