ZHANG Dan, Ph.D, Young Investigator

Zhang Dan received her Bachelor degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (P.R. China) in 2006 and Ph.D. degree from National University of Singapore in 2013. She joined Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) as a Junior Research Fellow in 2007 and was promoted to Research Fellow in 2013. After one year of postdoctoral training, she started her independent group as a Young Investigator in TLL from July 2014.

You may wish to contact Dr ZHANG Dan at:

Tel: (65) 6872 7000, 6872 7490 (DID) Email: zhangdan@tll.org.sg

For information on PhD studies at TLL, click HERE

Research Interests

  • Membrane contact site (MCS) formation
  • Calcium and lipid homeostasis at MCSs
  • Cell polarity/morphogenesis

Research Projects

Membrane-bound organelles establish multiple membrane contact sites (MCSs) through which they communicate and coordinate their functions. The broad goal of our lab is to elucidate the nature and functions of endomembrane contacts, and to integrate their roles into a general framework of cell physiology, using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as the main model organism.

Formation of ER/PM contacts

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-plasma membrane (PM) contact sites are thought to function in lipid trafficking and calcium signaling and are particularly prominent in yeast, plants and excitable cells in metazoans. A group of evolutionary conserved membrane integral proteins have been recently identified to couple the ER and the PM in various model systems. However, underlying mechanisms of the ER/PM contact formation remain poorly understood. We aim to understand mechanistically how these and potentially other proteins function in tethering the ER to the PM.

Physiological functions of ER/PM contacts

The mechanistic roles of the ER/PM contacts in calcium and lipid homeostasis, as well as their potential involvement in the PM patterning and cell stress response, require further investigation. Another main research interest is to explore the physiological consequences of establishing the ER/PM contacts.

Cell polarity and morphogenesis

Spatial coordination between endocytosis and exocytosis is essential to ensure the polarized growth and cylindrical cell shape of fission yeast cells. Specialized PM compartments at the growing ends are crucial for vesicle targeting, docking and fusion, and hence the polarized growth. We are also keen in understanding how the PM-vesicle crosstalk involves in polarity and shape maintenance of the fission yeast cells.