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Albert J. Courey
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA

Professor of Biochemistry

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Oberlin College; PhD, Harvard University; American Cancer Society Post-doctoral Fellowship; Searle Scholars Award; Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award; Member of UCLA Molecular Biology Institute.

  Courey Lab Research


During embryogenesis, a cluster of apparently undifferentiated cells is transformed into an ordered array of differentiated tissues. Using Drosophila as a model system, my research group combines biochemical and genetic approaches to study the molecular basis of this amazing transformation. Essentially all the regulatory circuits we study are conserved throughout the animal kingdom. Therefore, our studies have important implications for human health and development.

The following two major projects are currently underway in the lab.

·      Spatial and temporal regulation of transcription in development. We have been extensively examining mechanisms of activation and repression by the Dorsal morphogen, a transcription factor that determines the dorsal/ventral axis during early development. This factor is the Drosophila homolog of the vertebrate regulatory protein NF-kB. Like Dorsal, NF-kB is involved in both the determination of embryonic polarity and in the innate immune response. Furthermore, both Dorsal and NF-kB are regulated by homologous signal transduction cascades that control transcription factor activity by regulating nuclear import. [More information]

·        Role of Sumo-conjugation in development. Sumo is a recently discovered member of the ubiquitin family that is conserved throughout all eukaryotes. This polypeptide is a substrate for a protein conjugation system, in which Sumo becomes covalently attached to numerous target proteins modifying their behavior in various ways. We are attempting to learn about the roles of Sumo in cell biology and development. Our analysis has revealed possible roles for this process in regulated nuclear import, embryonic pattern formation, the immune response, and the stress response. [More information]

Figure 1
Drosophila and human development are homologous processes. They utilize closely related genes working in highly conserved regulatory networks. Unlike humans, Drosophila is subject to easy genetic manipulation. As a result, most of what we know about the molecular basis of animal development has come from studies of model systems such as Drosophila.

  Selected Publications from the Courey Lab


  Contact Info

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Box 951569 (post)
607 Charles E. Young Drive East (courier)
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569

Phone: 825-2530
Fax: 206-4038
Email: courey@chem.ucla.edu

  Current Members of Courey Lab

Graduate Students
Joseph Cao - jhcao@ucla.edu
Michael Chambers - mchamber0@ucla.edu
Pak Ning Kwong - pakwong@ucla.edu

Undergraduate Students
Mittchell Kim - kimminwoo@ucla.edu

  Past Members of Courey Lab

Josh Albrektson
Vinay Bhaskar
Guoqing Chen
Jesse Cheung
Todd Dubnicoff
Hao Duong
Girish Ratnaparkhi
Ruben Flores-Saaib
Jian-Dong Huang
Songtao Jia
Dennis Kuo
Duojia Pan
Alberto Ponce
Deborah Schwyter
Jill Shirokawa
Matthew Smith

Vanessa Smith
Haiyun Song
Yoko Takanaka
Wiam Turki-Judeh
Scott Valentine
Clint Winkler

Updated August 14, 2014