Christopher J. Stefan is a Senior Research Associate in the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology at Cornell. He received a Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Washington University School of Medicine in 1998. Prior to joining Cornell University, he held positions at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 1999-2002) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2003-2007). Dr. Stefan's research focuses on the regulation of cell signaling and membrane trafficking pathways, with emphasis on phosphoinositide lipid-dependent pathways in endocytic internalization and cell-surface receptor down-regulation.
My research studies the regulation of cell signaling and membrane trafficking pathways, focused upon two major areas: (1) endocytic internalization and cell-surface receptor down-regulation and (2) phosphoinositide lipid-dependent membrane sorting pathways. Phosphoinositide (PI) lipids are essential regulators of diverse cellular processes, including membrane trafficking and cell growth, survival, and signaling pathways. My efforts are directed at determining the mechanisms for the selective localization and regulation of the PI lipid kinases and phosphatases that spatially and temporally control PI lipid synthesis and turnover. In addition, genetic and biochemical techniques are being used to identify downstream target effectors of PI lipids in membrane trafficking pathways, particularly in plasma membrane protein targeting and uptake.
As a senior research associate, I am mainly responsible for conducting original research as well as presenting and publishing this research. However, as a senior scientist in Scott Emr’s lab, I participate in the oversight of research projects and future research goals in the lab with Dr. Emr. This includes assisting in the training of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the lab.
An important goal of my work is to conduct basic research that furthers our understanding of cellular design and function. My research involves important areas in cell biology and biochemistry and may serve in the teaching and training of students in the life sciences. In an effort to combine research, mentoring, and teaching, I strive to expand interest in the basic life sciences to undergraduate and graduate students.
Altogether, it is my hope that my research and teaching goals will promote students’ interest in molecular cell biology and biochemistry, as well as aid in the development and training of talented, future scientists.