Home

Ben O'Shaughnessy's group combines mathematical and computational modeling, data analysis, image analysis and experimentation to investigate  fundamental machineries used by living cells in health and disease. Our research is tightly integrated with collaborative experimental work.

Neurotransmission, neurotransmitter release, other secretion processes

We study neurotransmission and the machinery that releases neurotransmitters at neuronal synapses in the brain. This remarkable machinery achieves the millisecond temporal resolution required for neural circuits to encode information for cognition, sensation and coordinated motor activity. Its misregulation is associated with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. Similar mechanisms govern secretion of other essential bioactive compounds, including hormones such as insulin, cytokines in the immune system and enzymes.

Mechanics of cell division, mechanosensing

We investigate one of life’s most essential force-generating machines, the actomyosin contractile ring that divides cells at the end of the cell cycle during cytokinesis. Cell division propagates the genome and allows organisms to grow and repair, and its misregulation is the essential feature of cancer. Related interests in mechanobiology are mechanosensing and remodeling in the actomyosin cytoskeleton and regulation of cell wall growth in cell walled organisms.

Entry by the SARS-CoV-2 virus

SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19 which has become a global pandemic. We are studying how the virus uses its surface spike glycoprotein machinery to invade lung, nasal mucosa or small intestine cells by binding target cell ACE2 receptors and fusing its membrane envelope with target membranes.

Featured Publication

Summer undergad/MS CoV2 research project

September 08, 2020

In the O'Shaughnessy and Simunovic research groups a team of undergrad and Ms students used modeling tools and designed organoid experiments to study the SARS CoV-2 virus.

COVID-19 HPC Consortium Award

August 20, 2020

The O’Shaughnessy group has been awarded Microsoft high-performance computing resources to research SARS-CoV-2. These resources enable our group to investigate the mechanisms by which the SARS-CoV-2 enters cells. 

Zach McDargh presents at ZIPS seminar

August 14, 2020

Postdoc Zach McDargh presented his work on the mechanisms by which Ca2+ triggers neurotransmitter release in the brain at the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute as part of the Zuckerman Institute Postdoctoral Seminar series. Congratulations Zach!

Hongkang Zhu joins the group

August 28, 2019

Hongkang Zhu has joined our group to perform his doctoral research.
Welcome, Hongkang!

Jin Zeng joins the group

August 28, 2019

Jin Zeng has joined our group to perform his doctoral research.
Welcome, Jin!

Quantitative Aspects of Membrane Fusion and Fission Meeting

May 6, 2019

We presented our research on neurotransmitter release in the brain at the Quantitative Aspects of Membrane Fusion and Fission Meeting in beautiful Padova, Italy.

Dong An joins the group

October 24, 2018

Dong An has joined our group to perform his doctoral research.
Welcome, Dong!

Roberto Alonso-Matilla joins our group

August 27, 2018

Roberto Alonso-Matilla joins our group as a postdoc. Welcome Roberto! 

Nadiv Dharan joins our group

July 15, 2018

Nadiv Dharan joins our group as a postdoc.
Welcome to Nadiv! 

Support


© O'Shaughnessy Group 2018