Cornell University

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Molecular Medicine

Membrane proteins in cell-cell communication: architecture and mechanisms

Lab members

Principal Investigator

Toshi Kawate, Ph.D.

Toshi is interested in how proteins are built and how they drive complex biological systems. He received his Ph.D. in Cellular, Molecular, and Biophysical Studies at Columbia University, where he established his research background in X-ray crystallography and biochemistry in the lab of Dr. Eric Gouaux. After solving the first crystal structure of a P2X receptor ion channel as a postdoc in the Gouaux lab (now at the Vollum Institute), he continued his postdoctoral research in the lab of Dr. Kenton Swartz at the NIH where he learned ion channel biophysics and electrophysiology. Toshi became an Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine at Cornell University in the summer of 2011.

Graduate Student

Julia Kumpf, B.S.

Julia is a graduate student in the Field of Biophysics. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Physics, she taught high school chemistry and physics to inner-city youth in Boston for three years. During her time there, she fell in love with biochemistry and pharmacology while taking courses at Harvard Extension School. Her interests include x-ray crystallography, structure, teaching, reading, film, and science fiction.

Graduate Student

Kevin Michalski, B.S.

Kevin is a graduate student in the Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology program. He received a BS in Biochemistry from Siena College where he developed interests in signal transduction, enzymology, protein structure, and membrane proteins. In his free time Kevin enjoys reading fantasy, rollerblading, computer games, and electronic music. Since moving to Ithaca he has also started rock climbing and hunting bugs that get into his apartment.

Graduate Student

Dan Levenstein, B.S.

Dan is interested in how protein dynamics give rise to the computational properties of neurons. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry with a minor in Physics from Northeastern University and is currently a graduate student at Cornell University in the Field of Biophysics. He likes to travel, meet new people, and enjoys hiking, skiing, reading, and playing the violin or guitar.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Akira Karasawa, Ph.D.

Akira is interested in how membrane proteins transport their substrates. He received his Ph.D. in Biological Science at Osaka University in the lab of Dr. Hiroshi Kanazawa where he worked on bacterial secondary transporters. Before he joined the Kawate lab, he was a postdoc in the Membrane Enzymology group headed by Dr. Bert Poolman at University of Groningen to study osmosensing mechanisms. He likes cycling, hiking, skiing, playing the violin, and techno music.

Undergraduate Student

Diego Arenas

Diego is currently completing his undergraduate studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University as a Biology major with a concentration in Molecular and Cell Biology. He is interested in cancer biology, cell biology, immunology, infectology, molecular and experimental medicine, and neuroscience. Graduate from Jupiter High School in Jupiter, Flordia, Diego spent a year in France to learn the French culture and language. At Cornell University, he is involved in Sabor Latino Dance Ensemble and the Cornell Concert Commission.

Undergraduate Student

Rachel Chuang