2018 CBI Program Invited Lecture:
William R. Kobertz, Ph. D.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
UMASS Medical School
"Seeing What’s Out There: Fluorescent Visualization of Cellular Efflux"
The fluorescent visualization of intracellular ions and metabolites has reimaged our basic understanding of the inner workings of cells, tissues, and living organisms. In contrast, there is a dearth of tools to fluorescently visualize extracellular fluxes. Part of the challenge stems from the fact that cellular egress is contrary to the pervasive intracellular-centric experimental paradigm. Recently, we have been using chemistry to target the cell’s glycocalyx, which ideally positions small molecule and protein-based fluorescent sensors within nanometers of the extracellular vestibules of ion channels and membrane transporters. My laboratory’s efforts to fluorescently visualize ions and metabolites entering and exiting cells using this technology will be presented.
About the Speaker
William “Bill” Kobertz is a Professor and Graduate Director of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) in Worcester, MA. He completed his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at UC Berkeley and his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry at MIT. His post-doctoral work with Dr. Christopher Miller at Brandeis University focused on determining the quaternary structures of voltage-gated potassium channels using chemical and electrophysiological methods for which he was awarded a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences. In 2001, he joined the UMMS faculty, was awarded tenure in 2008, and was promoted to full professor in 2014. He is the Program Co-Chair of the 2020 Biophysical Society Meeting. His past research investigated how potassium channels in the body play a role in various afflictions, from heart attacks to hearing loss. Currently, his laboratory focuses on N- and O-glycosylation of ion channels and developing novel tools to visualize extracellular fluxes from cells and living animals.