Dominique Alfandari, Ph.D.
Professor of Developmental Biology
MCB program leader
Office phone: 413-577-4269
Lab phone: 413-545-3739
Email: alfandar [at] vasci [dot] umass [dot] edu
Office location: 427B ISB
661 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, Mass 01003
Movie is a model of ADAM13 protein. The Metalloprotease domain is grey, Disintegrin in Blue, Cystein rich in purple, EGF repeat in green.
Ph.D.: University of Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris 6 (France), 1994
Postdoctoral Training: University of Virginia, Department of Cell Biology
Previous positions: Maitre de conference UPMC 1996-2000 (Tenure), Research Instructor UVA 2000-2003
Awards: Predoctoral fellowship MRT 1991-1994. Post doctoral fellowship FRM 1995-1996. NIH RO1DE14365 (2001-6), NIH RO1DE16289 (2006-2017), NSF 0544015 (2005-08)
ADAM metalloprotease function during embryonic Development
1 Our latest manuscript with Jubin Kashef’s group in Germany is accepted in Nature communication “Cadherin-11 localizes to focal adhesions and promotes cell-substrate adhesion.”. 2 Dom is talking at the AAA meeting Morphogenesis and Differentiation of Cranial Crest and Placodes in SanDiego in April.
The following movies show cranial neural crest cell migration in vivo (in the embryo) or in vitro (In a dish). In vivo the neural crest were labeled with a fluorescent marker before they were grafted into a host embryo.
How does a cell move? Cells move all the time in our bodies, to repair wounds, to attack pathogens, to fight cancer or in some cases to allow cancer to spread and invade new organs. In embryos, cells move great distances to produce the various shapes and complex organs.
We study how cells move in a developing embryo. More specifically, how do they start? How do they know where to go, where and when to stop? One of the best examples of cell movement (see movie) is the migration of cranial neural crest cells. They are borne at the border between the neural and non-neural ectoderm in the dorsal side of the embryo and migrate to the ventral side of the embryo to create all of the structures of the face (bones, cartilage, muscle and ganglia).
Our laboratory is funded by the NIH (NIDCR) to understand how metalloproteases that are expressed at the surface of the cranial neural crest help these cells move. We aim to understand which proteins are cut by these proteases and how this cleavage changes the function of these target proteins to favor cell movement. Clearly if these proteases can promote cell migration in the embryo, they may also promote cancer cell dispersion (Metastasis) so that understanding how they work and how we can stop their function may also lead to new approaches to cancer treatment.
The Alfandari lab in the news.