Robin Yates

Professor

Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Member

Snyder Institute for Chronic Disease

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)


Contact information

Location


Research and teaching

Research Activities

Phagocytes are cells named for their ability to engulf or "eat" particulate material via the process of phagocytosis. They function in a diverse array of essential tasks throughout the body, operating at the frontlines to protect the body against invading microbes and also performing numerous housekeeping functions that are necessary for normal growth and maintenance of health. The phagosome is the organelle that is formed within the phagocyte following phagocytosis and is charged with the task of processing the engulfed material appropriately. In primitive phagocytes, such as the amoeba, this organelle serves as the "stomach" of the cell and acts to efficiently and completely digest its contents for cellular nutrition. In phagocytes of higher order organisms, however, the phagosome can be charged to perform a multitude of precise functions, many of which rely on controlled or partial deconstruction of engulfed material. Phagocytes such as macrophages and dendritic cells can adapt the lumenal chemistries within the phagosome to best suit the task at hand. This allows these cells to perform numerous tasks within the body. However, with increased versatility comes increased fallibility which can lead to disease.

The Yates lab focuses its research on the lumenal environment within phagosomes in macrophages and dendritic cells. By utilizing techniques in fluorometry, microscopy and molecular biology the group can monitor chemistries within this microenvironment; explore relationships between phagosomal chemistries and dissect pathways that alter phagosomal function. Since phagosomes play key roles in numerous physiologies and pathologies, this fundamental work has the potential to impact a diverse array of biomedical fields from tuberculosis to atherosclerosis and to influence the design of vaccines and drug delivery technologies.

Research Personnel: 

  • Rhiannon Campden, PhD Graduate Student
  • Benjamin Ewanchuk, PhD Graduate Student
  • Katie Greene, PhD Graduate Student
  • Corey Arnold, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Dr. Neil McKenna, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Devin Aggarwal, Associate
  • Stephanie Hawes, Administrative Assistant

Publications

PubMed