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PDB Journal Club

Due to public health and safety concerns in response to the ongoing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, please assume that previously scheduled on campus  Department of Cell and Developmental Biology events are deferred until further notice. Please refer to the Vanderbilt University website for guidance:


The Developmental Biology Journal Club (DBJC) is a weekly forum where program members can learn about and discuss recently published developmental biology-themed research findings.

DBJC is a course, CBIO-GS8331, named Current Topics in Stem Cell and Developmental Biology.  This course, offered in both fall and spring semesters meets once per week to hear a graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or faculty member discuss a research paper from outside his or her own field of research, with substantial audience Q&A and discussion. Students taking the course for credit must attend most of the semester’s presentations. After pairing with a faculty mentor, they together choose and prepare a topical paper that the trainee presents towards the end of the semester. Students planning to register must contact and discuss plans with the director ( in the preceding semester.

Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and primary investigators all share presentation responsibilities. Once a member is chosen to present at the DBJC he or she must choose a topic outside his or her typical field of interest, adapt the article for a 30-40 minute PowerPoint presentation, and be prepared to discuss the work in a Q&A session afterwards.

Journal Club is a great way for less-established researchers to gain public speaking and question-and-answer experience in a collegial, non-stressful environment. Additionally, younger program members can learn staging and questioning skills from senior member DBJC presentations. Refreshments are always served and attendees are encouraged to continue their discussions after the seminar has ended.

Journal Club

Dear PDB members,

Please join us on March 5th at 4:00 PM via Zoom when Nabil Saleh (Graduate student in Lau lab) will present “Succination inactivates gasdermin D and blocks pyroptosis” by Humphries, et. al. Science 25 Sep 2020: vol. 369, Issue 6511, pp. 1633-1637 DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9818

Presentation Blurb:
Post Translational Modifications (PTMs) on regulatory proteins are powerful modulators of cell differentiation pathways and adult cell/tissue homeostasis. Macrophage activation is a model facultative developmental transition. Findings in this system may be broadly applicable to other developmental processes. We all know standard PTMs such as methylation, phosphorylation, ubiquitylation, and SUMOylation, but other modifications should probably receive similar attention.

Activated macrophages show metabolic switching to aerobic glycolysis and accumulate Krebs’ cycle intermediates. Fumarate acts as an inhibitor of cell death. Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) or endogenous fumarate normally regulates gasdermin D (GSDMD) function when it is added to a specific cysteine-192 residue. GSDMD-SUCCINATE prevents caspase interaction, limiting cell death by a specialized type called pyroptosis. In mice, DMF protects against lipopolysaccharide shock and alleviates familial Mediterranean fever or experimental autoimmune encephalitis by targeting GSDMD. Finding GSDMD as a target of fumarate/DMF reveals a mechanism of action for fumarate-based therapeutics for multiple sclerosis. It also stresses our lack of knowledge of regulatory roles for unusual PTMs relevant to developmental processes.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday.

Contact Indrayani Waghmare for zoom info.


Indrayani Waghmare, PhD
Research Fellow, Page-McCaw Lab
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
Vanderbilt University
465, 21st Avenue South, MRBIII, U-4200
TN 37240-7935
Ph: 615 875 5842
Mobile: 978 727 5815


Annual Retreat

Check back with us for information about the fall retreat.

Christopher V. E. Wright, D.Phil.

Director, Vanderbilt University Program in Developmental Biology
Associate Director, Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology
Louise B. McGavock Chair
Professor and Vice-Chair for Faculty Affairs,
Dept. Cell & Developmental Biology

2213 Garland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37232-0494
phone  615-343-8256
FAX  615-343-4539

Program Website