School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Dr. Jena to give keynote address at Romanian Cell Biology Society Meeting

Bhanu Jena, Ph.D.

Bhanu Jena, Ph.D.

Bhanu Jena, Ph.D., the George E. Palade University Professor and Distinguished Professor of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Physiology, will give the keynote lecture at the 32nd Romanian Cell Biology Society Meeting.

“I am humbled by this invitation since it’s the country of origin of the great cell biologist, the late Professor George E. Palade,” Dr. Jena said. “I fondly remember my visit in 2003 to Romania to receive an honorary doctorate from Babes-Bolai University together with the two giants in cell biology, Professor Palade (who won the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) and his student, Professor Günter Blobel (who won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine). I very much look forward to participating in the meeting.”

Dr. Jena will present “Porosome: The Universal Secretory Portal in Cells,” which will include the most significant progress in the past 18 years since the discovery of the porosome, and the molecular underpinnings of porosome-mediated fractional release of intravesicular contents from cells during secretion.

The porosome, discovered by Dr. Jena, is the universal secretory machinery in cells. Secretion is a fundamental cellular process that occurs in all living organisms. Cell secretion is responsible for numerous activities, including neurotransmission and the release of hormones and digestive enzymes. Secretory defects are responsible for a number of debilitating conditions, including growth defects, diabetes and neurological disorders.

Dr. Jena’s work has focused primarily on the molecular machinery and mechanism underlying cell secretion. His discovery of the porosome has revolutionized understanding of the secretory process in cells. He and his team have determined the structure and dynamics of the porosome, its isolation and composition, and its functional reconstitution in lipid membrane. His studies demonstrate for the first time that, following a secretory stimulus, membrane-bound secretory vesicles transiently dock and fuse at the base of porosomes present at the cell plasma membrane to release intravesicular contents. The action opposes the commonly held belief that during cell secretion, secretory vesicles completely merge and collapse at the cell plasma membrane. His discoveries explain the presence of partially empty secretory vesicles in cells following secretion.

The Romanian Cell Biology Society Meeting will take place June 4-7 in Targu Mures, Romania. Dr. Jena was invited to give the keynote by Aurel Ardelean, Ph.D., president of the Vasile Goldis Western University of Arad.
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