Welcome to the Kaplan Lab at UC Davis

Budding yeast after replication stress. The circle indicates the position of the nucleus. Nvj1 (red) shows the targeting of part of the nucleus to the vacuole and the relative position of Fob1, a nucleolar marker. (Image credit: Jonathan Do and Ken Kaplan)


Research Interests:

My lab focuses on cellular pathways that preserve genome integrity during mitosis. We are especially focused on anaphase and how the major events of anaphase are coordinated with DNA replication to ensure proper sister chromatid resolution. In studying these pathways, we have grown more generally interested in how normal cells transition into disease states, states that support aneuploidy in cancer or that result in progressive failures in cell functions in neurodegenerative disease. 

Undergrads shine in research conference 2019

Big congrats to all the undergraduate thesis students for 2019! 

Jonathan Do, an Environmental Toxicology Major and(a McNair’s Scholar,  joined the lab this year to explore how genome checkpoint pathways connect to our replication stress induced nucleophagy. Jonathan’s talents being a chemistry tutor are on full show here as he explains his thesis project to the rapt audience.

Mark Williams, a double Cell Biology and Physics major battled through computer issues to present his findings on how micronuclei, a major source of genome instability in tumor cells, might be suppressed by autophagy.

Mackenzie Noon, a Genetics major, presented his work on assessing how replication stress induced nucleophagy impacts the size of the rDNA array. Mackenzie has managed to develop a qPCR assay for measuring this chromosome array and is ready test his hypothesis.

Ariana Cisneros, a Cell Biology major, presented her work tracking autophagy membranes in wild type and septin mutant cells. Ariana has spent a lot of time staring at “spots” in time-lapse images, so it’s no surprise that she’s in need of a cold beer after her talk (and I forgot to get a photo of her actual talk!!).

MCB140L – 2019 – Research on septins – the dark sheep of the cytoskeletal family

In the advanced cell biology lab class for Cell Biology Majors in the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, students learn classic and advanced techniques used by cell biologists to understand how cellular machinery contributes to cell functions. This year students analyzed the behavior of septins under various nutrient conditions. Septins are a conserved cytoskeletal filament that interact closely with cell membranes, and they have been implicated in cell division, neuronal plasticity, cell signaling and targeting of intracellular pathogens to the lysosome for destruction. Despite their very interesting biology, septins are far less studied than their “famous” siblings in the cytoskeletal family – actin and microtubules.

After conducting yeast two hybrid studies on septin subunits and membrane proteins, the 140Lers below are taking a well deserved donut-break. Analyzing data uses lots of glucose!!

MCB140Lers on donut break!