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Lab News

                           Congratulations to Ambre Sala

                           who has accepted the role of 

                           Group Leader with the

                           department of Cell Biology at

                           the I2BC (Institute for

                           Integrative Biology of the Cell)

                           in Gif sur Yvette in France.

                           Au revoir et bonne chance,

                           Ambre! You will be missed.




                           Congratulations to Thomas 

                           Stoeger for his paper in Nature

                           Aging, Aging is associated with

                            a systemic length-associated

                            transcriptome imbalance











                           The Morimoto Lab is excited to 

                           welcome alumnus, Maria

                           Catarina Silva, Ph.D., 

                           currently an Instructor in the 

                           Neurology Department at

                           Harvard Medical School, to

                           give the Keynote Lecture at this

                           year's Morimoto Lab Retreat.










                            View photos from this year's 

                            Morimoto Lab Retreat here










                           The Morimoto Lab is delighted

                           to welcome a new post

                           doctoral associate, Alejandro

                            (Alex) Rodriguez Gama!

                            Alex completed his PhD at the 

                           Stowers Research Institute in

                           Kansas City with Prof. Randall

                           Halfmann. His research aims to

                           interrogate how stress

                           response against exogenous

                            stimuli shapes proteostasis

                            and contributes to aging. 











                           The Morimoto Lab is thrilled 

                           to welcome a new post

                           doctoral associate, Catherine 

                           Shafer! Catherine completed

                           her PhD at UCLA. She plans to

                           apply her training in toxicology

                           and experience with

                           metalloprotein dynamics and

                           trace metal metabolism to

                           understand how environmental

                           factors contribute to aging.








                           Congratulations to Xiaojing

                           Sui for receiving a Post-

                           Doctoral Fellowship from the 

                           BrightFocus Foundation.







                           Former Morimoto Lab

                           post-doc, Tali Gidalevitz,

                           visited and couldn't resist

                           doing a bit of nostalgic work

                           at her old bench.  












                            Congratulations to Anan Yu for 

                            her first co-authored

                            publication in Cell Stem Cell,

                            Recapitulation of endogenous

                            4R tau expression and

                            formation of insoluble tau in

                            directly reprogrammed human














                           Postdoctoral Fellow, Thomas

                           Stoeger, met up with Alex

                           Rodriguez Gama, who will be

                           joining the Morimoto Lab as a

                           Postdoctoral Fellow later in

                           2022, at the National Institutes

                           of Health Trainees meeting in

                           Bethesda, MD.

                           Congratulations to Morimoto

                           Lab graduating seniors Claire

                           Morton and Eirene Fithian!

                           They were awarded honors at

                           the 2022 Senior Thesis and

                           Awards Celebration on June 1. 


                           Eirene also won the David

                           Shemin Prize for Basic

                           Research for her senior honors



                           Investigating the Link between

                           stress resilience and lipid

                           metabolism and  in the cbd-1

                           mutant in C. elegans

                           Claire Morton (Biology;  

                           Chemistry minor)

                           Mentor:  Ambre Sala


                           Establishing A Quantitative

                           Proteostasis Probe for

                           Neuronal Signaling Receptor

                           Trafficking Upon Protein


                            Eirene Fithian (Biology;

                           Science in Human Culture) 

                           Mentor:  Anan Yu





























                           Congratulations to Laura Bott

                           for her talk, A metastable

                           protein conformational switch

                           reveals cell state transitions in

                           aging and stress at the 27th

                           Annual Midwest Stress and

                           Molecular Chaperone Meeting

                           in January 2022. 










                           Congratulations to Laura Bott

                           for her talk, A metastable

                           protein conformational switch

                           reveals cell state transitions in

                           aging and stress, at the

                           Chicago Area Worm Meeting

                           in December 2021.

                            Happy Holidays from the

                            Morimoto Lab to you! View

                            pictures of our holiday party


                           Congratulations to Rogan

                           Grant for his article in Nature, 

                           Circuits between infected   

                           macrophages and T cells in

                           SARS CoV-2 pneumonia




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We study the regulation of the heat shock response and the function of molecular chaperones and the proteostasis network to maintain the functional health of the proteome, to ensure optimal cellular health and to promote longevity. Our current interests are: to understand how different tissues in C. elegans sense diverse forms of environmental and physiological stress and communicate proteotoxic stress signals between tissues to determine organismal health, to determine the mechanisms by which proteostasis collapse occurs in aging and the relationship between proteostasis failure and other markers of aging.  These observations are used to study cell stress responses and proteostasis in patient-derived direct differentiated neurons to develop small molecule strategies to restore the proteostasis network to delay or prevent proteome mismanagement that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ALS and other protein folding disorders.

C. elegans through the microscope
C. elegans through the microscope

C. elegans viewed through the microscope at the Morimoto Lab

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Charlie, Sue, Rick, and Kyoko
Charlie, Sue, Rick, and Kyoko

Dr. Rick Morimoto and Lab Manager, Sue Fox, celebrate the graduation of Charlie Stark and Kyoko Kohno in June 2021.

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Image from the Morimoto Laboratory collection by Jesper Pedersen of neuron polyglutamine aggregates
Image from the Morimoto Laboratory collection by Jesper Pedersen of neuron polyglutamine aggregates

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C. elegans through the microscope
C. elegans through the microscope

C. elegans viewed through the microscope at the Morimoto Lab

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The Proteostasis Network

Protein Quality Control (PQC) is regulated by the Proteostasis Network (PN) that controls protein synthesis, folding, transport and degradation of all proteins to ensure their stability and function. We study the properties and regulation of cell stress responses, molecular chaperones, the ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosome system at the organismal level using C. elegans and in patient derived induced neurons to examine the mechanisms of proteotoxicity in cells and tissues against proteotoxic damage.

Aging Biology

Aging is associated with the appearance and accumulation of non-native proteins with folded states that are highly aggregation-prone and amyloidogenic. We are interested in the molecular basis of quality control failure in aging, that we have termed Proteostasis Collapse, which is associated with a functional decline in specific arms of the PN leading to protein aggregation.

Proteostasis in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Alzheimer's disease, ALS, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Frontal Temporal Dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases are all associated with age-dependent protein aggregation and cellular dysfunction.  We have used both C. elegans and induced neurons to discover how protein misfolding and aggregates interferes with cellular function and to discover small molecules that enhance chaperone expression and function. 

The Heat Shock Response

All cells (and organisms) respond to environmental stress such as elevated temperatures and other abiotic stressors by activation of HSF1 and selective transcriptional activation of molecular chaperones and other components of the PN.  In isolated cells in tissue culture, the heat shock response (HSR) is regulated cell autonomously but in C. elegans, the HSR is regulated cell non-autonomously by the AFD sensory neuron to confer cellular healthspan and lifespan.

The Proteostasis Consortium

We share an NIH Program Project Grant from NIA on Proteostasis of Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases together with Judith Frydman (Stanford), Jeff Kelly (Scripps), Steve Finkbeiner (UCSF), and Dan Finley (Harvard).  Additional information on our research and the Proteostasis Consortium Wednesday Seminars be found at

Welcome to the Morimoto Lab

Contact Us


Please send cover letters, CVs, research plans, and other relevant documents to if you'd like to apply to join the lab.

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