Office Phone Number:
CAMPUS - 173717
Biological Sciences Research Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095 Biological Sciences Research Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095
|Professor, Biological Chemistry|
|Member, Basic/Translational Research, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cell & Developmental Biology GPB Home Area, I3T Theme, JCCC Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program Area|
Dr. van der Bliek studied Biology as an undergraduate at the University of Amsterdam. In 1988 he obtained a Ph.D. for studies of multidrug resistance and gene amplification in mammalian cells. These studies were conducted at the Netherlands Cancer Institute under supervision of Dr. Piet Borst. Dr. van der Bliek then worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz at Cal Tech. While there, Dr. van der Bliek discovered the role of dynamin in endocytosis, first in Drosophila and then in mammalian cells (collaboration with Dr. Sandra Schmid at Scripps). In early 1993, Dr. van der Bliek joined the Department of Biological Chemistry at UCLA where his laboratory has maintained an interest in membrane biology with a focus on the cell biological functions of dynamin family members. The lab initially studied the roles of classic dynamins in C. elegans and mammalian cells. In 1999, the van der Bliek lab (and others) discovered the role of dynamin-related proteins in mitochondrial fission. In the following years, the lab has continued to look for novel proteins that are part of the fission machinery. This search recently led to the discovery of a novel mitochondrial fission factor called MFF. In parallel, the lab has investigated the roles of dynamin-related proteins in fusion between mitochondria. This second line of research led to the discovery of enhanced sensitivity to reactive oxygen species in cells lacking fusion proteins and the discovery of a proteolytic cascade controlling mitochondrial fusion in mammalian cells. These findings have relevance for a range of human diseases, including cancer (through apoptosis), eye disease, and Parkinson’s disease.