The Brown Lab is currently divided into two, fierce factions. One is branded the Traffickators, while the other is the Lipidators. The Traffickators faction is the older of the two, and its members primarily study membrane trafficking that involves the Golgi organelle. The Lipidators work on unraveling the mysteries behind a new type of organelle called lipid droplets, which can be found in all human cells. The two factions are currently engaged in a ceasefire, so at least momentarily, there is peace in the lab.
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Bill is the commander-in-chief/CEO/deity of the Brown Lab. He enjoys assigning great projects from mopping the floors to cleaning rust from water baths. Formerly a Southern Californian, Bill moved to Ithaca because he grew bored of sunny skies, surfing, and good Mexican food. Bill is neither solely a traffickator or a lipidator and when asked whether he cherishes the Golgi, the lipid droplet, or his family the most, he refuses to give an answer.
Danielle, once a proud Lipidator, has recently turned to the dark side of the lab and became a Traffickator convert. She is currently working to pick up John's research in studying the roles of lysophospholipid acyltransferases on membrane tubules and trafficking. In her free time, Danielle likes to enjoy the outdoors and take photographs.
Once a large, powerful, and sometimes proud army, the Lipidators have recently been decimated to a two members: Srich and his undergraduate minion, Eda. Srich is interested in studying how members of a particular family of proteins is targeted to lipid droplets in mammalian cells, whether that may be due to specific residues or motifs within the proteins or whether post-translational modifications or other binding-partners may be involved. Srich is a world traveler, having been to every continent in the world except Antarctica. Srich is a devout Indianapolis Colts fan and loves to play soccer despite having a busted knee. When asked whether he would rather become: 1) a rich and famous soccer player or 2) a poor graduate student in a lab, he thought for several minutes and determined that he would probably choose 1).
Ben used to work as a Lipidator but has since converted to Traffickatorism primarily because he wanted to see whether the other side of the grass is greener. Apparently it is. He now works with various phospholipases and acyltransferases and is investigating how these proteins may have concerting, functional activities in various roles of Golgi structure maintenance and trafficking. Ben hails from Philly and is also a local computer hacker that is freely available to remedy various computer issues. Ben also enjoys brewing Bier, which he typically brings in to lab for others to enjoy (it's probably the rejected/failed beer, too)
Kevin studies the same protein that Marie studies but he is more focused on understanding the biochemical mechanisms linking the phospholipase activity to structural changes in organellar membranes and how this may ultimately lead to modulation of membrane trafficking. Kevin has two dachshunds named Dookie and Moogle. Kevin is also the webmaster of the Brown Lab Website and yes, he is indeed typing about him in third person.
Eda is an undergraduate student in the lab, who will be taking over Nick's work. Eda is from Los Angeles and just like Bill, the excessive number of warm, sunny days goaded her to move to Ithaca, where it is pleasantly cooler. Eda is currently learning many techniques, such as vortexing tubes and how to inadvertently kill cells.
Nick is a senior undergrad who will be leaving the lab soon to head to medical school, where his life will surely be twice as miserable. Nick studies the dynamic expression levels of triacylglyceride lipases in mammalian cells. He does so by utilizing human cells that are specialized in making lipid droplets, called adipocytes. He also works with cells that can be induced to differentiate into adipocytes. Nick is a very zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan simply because he originates from Pittsburgh and will not hesitate to pour sulfuric acid into your coffee if you use his Terrible Towel as a handkerchief.
John studies lysophospholipid acyltrans-ferases (LPATs), which transfer acyl chains onto lysophospholipids. His studies cover their topology within cellular membranes, the multiple roles they may play in membrane trafficking, and the biochemical reasoning behind such roles. John is a native of the Garden State, New Jersey, and is so well-versed in politics that he may very well be the first biology PhD correspondent on CNN.
Ina currently works alongside Marie and is studying the potential link between the PLA2 family member and microtubule-based movements in endosome membrane trafficking. Ina enjoyed living in enormous cities such as Brooklyn in New York City and Shanghai, so her move to Ithaca is a dramatically quieter experience. Ina is also familiar with Shanghainese, and believe it or not, it really is a Chinese dialect!
Marie works on a phospholipase A2 (PLA2) family member, studying how this particular protein is involved in intracellular membrane trafficking and structural maintenance of the Golgi complex and endosomes. She is also the resident expert on everything concerning the HPLC. Whenever Marie is assigned to bring snacks for lab meetings, she always brings the most sophisticated, gourmet snacks. Marie is a Wisconsin native but amazingly, she does not follow nor care for the Greenbay Packers.