Overview of interests
Dr. Copeland’s laboratory investigates the role of the formin family of cytoskeletal remodeling proteins in governing cellular dynamics. Current projects focus on the role of FMNL2 in melanoma metastasis, the role of formins in cell-cell junction formation in endothelial cells, and the role of the novel formin INF1 in Golgi and primary cilium assembly.
Dr. Copeland was the first laboratory to describe the cellular function of the novel vertebrate formin INF1. This work showed that INF1 coordinates actin and microtubule dynamics to affect Golgi assembly and positioning. In the course of this work, they also discovered that INF1 plays a central role in assembly of the primary cilia – a cellular antenna required for a variety of cellular signaling pathways. They were also the first laboratory to perform a functional analysis on the metastatic formins FMNL2 and FMNL3. They continue to pursue the function of FMNL2 as an essential regulator of metastasis in melanoma cells. More recently, Dr. Copeland’s work has uncovered a new role for formins in the assembly of endothelial cell-cell junctions. These findings are likely to have an important impact on their understanding of the processes that drive angiogenesis and atherosclerosis.
Research in the Copeland laboratory is funded by grants from the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) and the Cancer Research Society (CRS).