Professor Rob PartonProfessor Rob Parton
Institute for Molecular Bioscience
The University of Queensland

Abstract: The plasma membrane forms a barrier to protect the cell from the outside world. However, the cell surface is not a static impermeable barrier but a dynamic mosaic of distinct domains with unique properties and functions. Our work is aimed at understanding the formation, function, and dynamics of these cell surface domains at the molecular level. I will describe the use of light and electron microscopic techniques, including electron tomography, serial blockface scanning electron microscopy, and genetically-encoded electron microscopic tags, to gain a quantitative understanding of the formation of these specific plasma membrane domains and their role in endocytosis, mechanoprotection, and specific signal transduction pathways. In particular, I will describe our studies on cell surface pits called caveolae, and how structural studies of caveolar proteins together with cellular and whole animal systems are providing insights into the multiple functions of caveolae and the diseases associated with caveolar dysfunction.

Bio: Rob Parton studied biochemistry in the UK before moving to the EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany. He received Royal Society and EMBO postdoctoral fellowships before becoming a junior group leader studying endocytosis. In 1996, he moved to the University of Queensland. He is currently a group leader in the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, a Deputy Director of the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, and a Senior Principal Research Fellow of the NHMRC. His research aims to understand the formation and function of microdomans of the plasma membrane.


Queensland Bioscience Precinct
Building 80
The University of Queensland
St Lucia