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The Team

Who We Are

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Jan, Yeongho, Chris, Hyeri and Priyanka
April 2024

Chris Burd

Principal Investigator

I received a PhD in 1994 from Northwestern University for my research with Professor Gideon Dreyfuss into mechanisms of pre-mRNA processing. I left the RNA world to investigate lipid-based signaling with Professor Scott Emr at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, San Diego. I started my own research program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1998, investigating the role of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in the sorting of proteins within the endosomal system. In 2011, I moved to the Department of Cell Biology at Yale. (That's me pretending to use the microscope.) In 2017, I received a MERIT award from the US National Institutes of Health and in 2018, I was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for my group’s contributions toward understanding organelle biogenesis pathways. When I’m not discussing science with my colleagues, I enjoy cycling, playing acoustic music, hiking, travel, and spending time with my family and two energetic English Setters.

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Yeongho Kim

Post-Doctoral Fellow

I am a scientist researching lipid biochemistry and cell biology. I received my PhD in 2018 in Genetics, Cellular, and Molecular Biology program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My major focus was to understand and engineer the biochemistry of biodiesel precursors (lipids/fats) in single-cell microalga called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. As a postdoctoral associate, I have worked with Dr. Chris Burd in the Cell Biology department at Yale since 2018 to bridge my research of lipid metabolism to the cell biology of organelles in human cells. Outside of the lab I spend most of the time with my family, or casually playing tennis and guitar.

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Jan Parolek

Post-Doctoral Fellow

I studied Biochemistry at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, carrying out my bachelor and master research projects under the mentorship of Dr. Jan Konvalinka. In 2019, I received a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Osnabrueck, Germany, where I investigated the pathogenicity mechanism of sphingomyelin synthase 2 mutants under the guidance of Dr. Joost Holthuis. I joined the Burd Lab in March 2020. In my current project, I investigate physiological roles of lipid transfer proteins. A deeper understanding of how these proteins function will explain the mechanisms assuring lipid homeostasis in the endomembrane system of mammalian cells and give us insight how these proteins increase metastasis of cancer cell. Besides doing science, I enjoy biking, gardening, and cooking.

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Priyanka Sharma

Post-Doctoral Fellow

I am investigating the role of a partially characterized family of membrane proteins in regulating lipid trafficking along the secretory pathway. As a grad student, I discovered the role of endosomal recycling in promoting breast cancer metastasis. In my research free time, I love to go hiking, do Yoga, cook, and talk to my loved ones.

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Hyeri Yun

Post-Doctoral Fellow

I received my Ph.D. from the Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Republic of Korea. During my Ph.D. course, I focused on the physiological role of organelle membrane contacts and dynamics.

As a cell biologist, I am highly interested in membrane dynamics, including protein trafficking and lipid transfer.

I love planting, baking, and traveling.

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Karine Khachikyan

Lab Assistant

Karine Khachikyan keeps the lab running smoothly. The success of all of our experiments depends on her!

Lab Alumni

Yongchang Deng (aka "York")

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Assistant professor at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China

Emma Sundberg

Graduate Student

Biology teacher at the Commonwealth School in Boston.

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Mandi Ma

Graduate Student

Postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Mandi served as the Chair of the 2018 Gordon Research Seminar on Lysosomes and Endocytosis.

Megan Harrison

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Senior Scientist at Frequency Therapeutics

Richard Chi

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Tenured Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Have a look at Richard discussing his work in a Biobytes interview with the Journal of Cell Biology here.

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Megan Harrison, Chris, Richard Chi, York  (2013)

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Catherine Deatherage

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Senior Scientist at Kisbee Therapeutics 

Charlotte Ford

Post-Doctoral Fellow

As a scientist, I am keenly interested in the interface between cells and microbiology, having completed a PhD studying entry mechanisms of C. trachomatis in the lab of Dr. Richard Hayward at the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology in London. I joined Dr. Chris Burd’s lab at Yale in 2018, where I am primarily interested in understanding sorting and trafficking of lipids in physiologically relevant models, specifically sphingomyelin, which has implications not just for our understanding of trafficking processes overall, but how this can impact the surface architecture of epithelial cells.

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