Farnaz Pournia

Ph.D. student

I work on the functions of Connexin43, the most abundantly expressed member of the Gap Junction Family Protein, in the context of B-lymphocyte Cytoskeletal-dependent Processes.

 

B-Lymphocytes (B cells) are important cells of the immune system which produce antibody and also develop memory to fight the return of the infection.

During development and responses, B cells rely on their ability to change shape, send out protrusions and move within the body. The cell cytoskeleton and their remodelling are what make these cellular phenomena possible.

In the Matsuuchi lab and during my graduate studies, I worked on the role of a member of the Gap Junction protein family, conexin43 (Cx43) in the context of cytoskeletal remodelling in B- Lymphocytes.

Results of my work showed that the carboxyl tail (CT) of Cx43, previously identified as an important domain, can partake in B cell spreading in the absence of other domains of the protein. Further studies identified a specific part of the CT as well as residues important for B cell spreading response.

B cells spread their membrane in response to antigen encounter and this cytoskeletal dependent process is an important early step of B cell activation. The results of these studies will provide new insight into B cell function and can introduce new targets for regulating B cell responses.

RISE Professional

2018
/
For Research

DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service

Four Year Doctoral Fellowship

2016
/
For Research

University of British Columbia

Faculty of Medicine Graduate Award

2015
/
For Research

University of British Columbia