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James                          Bangs

James D. Bangs PhD

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Grant T. Fisher Professor and Chair of Microbiology & Immunology

 
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Professional Summary:

Human African trypanosomiasis (commonly called Sleeping Sickness) is one of the global great neglected diseases, causing ~10,000 cases annually according to most recent estimates (2009). The related veterinary disease of livestock (Nagana) also has significant impact on human economic well being throughout sub-Saharan Africa wherever the insect vector (tsetse flies) are found. Both diseases are caused parasitic protozoa called trypanosomes (Trypanosoma brucei ssp.) Because trypanosomes are eukaryotic cells, organized similarly to every cell in our bodies, treatment of infection is not unlike cancer treatment in that chemotherapy against the parasite has harsh consequences for the patient. However, infection is invariably fatal without intervention, consequently new more specific drugs are desperately needed. In addition, because trypanosomes are an anciently divergent evolutionary lineage, they provide a unique model system for studying basic eukaryotic biology.

My laboratory focuses on the cell biology of these protozoa, specifically on intracellular trafficking of lysosomal and cell surface proteins as key aspects of the host:parasite relationship. The trypanosome lifecycle alternates between the mammalian bloodstream and the tsetse midgut, and each stage has a unique protein surface coat that forms the first line of contact with the host. These coat proteins are anchored in membranes by glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors and are essential for survival in each stage. Consequently, correct protein targeting to the cell surface is critical to the success of the parasite. Also, endocytic and lysosomal functions are greatly up-regulated in the pathogenic bloodstream stage for both nutritional and defensive purposes. Using classic and current cell biological and biochemical approaches we work on four distinct areas: 1) GPI-dependent targeting of surface coat proteins; 2) machinery of secretory trafficking; 3) stage-specific lysosomal biogenesis and proteomics; and 4) role of sphingolipids in secretory transport. Our ultimate goal is to define aspects of trypanosomal secretory processes that may provide novel avenues to chemotherapeutic intervention.

Education and Training:
  • PhD, Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University (1987)
  • BS, Biology, Bates College, High Honors (1977)
Employment:
  • Professor Emeritus, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Unversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Medicine (2013-present)
  • Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, University at Buffalo (SUNY) (2012-present)
  • Professor, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Medicine (2004–2013)
  • Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1999–2004)
  • Assistant Professor, Medical Microbiology & Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1993–1999)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Microbiology & Immunology, Standford University (1988–1993)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Cell Biology, Yale University (1987–1988)
  • Graduate Student, Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University (1981–1986)
  • Research Technician, Department of Immunogenetics, Brigham & Women‘s Hospital (1979–1981)
  • Research Technician, Division of Immunology, Children‘s Hospital Medical Center (1977–1979)
Awards and Honors:
  • Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator in Molecular Parasitology (1997)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Program in Cancer Biology, Stanford University (1990)
  • Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellowship (1987)
  • Paul Ehrlich Graduate Student Award, Johns Hopkins Medical School (1986)
  • ARCS Foundation Award, Washington, D.C. Chapter (1986)
  • High Honors in Biology, Bates College (1977)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Bates College (1977)
  • Maine Heart Association Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (1976)

Research Expertise:
  • Glycobiology
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Membrane & protein trafficking
  • Molecular Parasitology
Grants and Sponsored Research:
  • March 2011–February 2016
    Lysosomal biogenesis and function in African Trypanosomes
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,250,000
  • July 2010–June 2014
    Secretion, protein targeting, and lipid metabolism in African Trypanosomes
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,000,000

Journal Articles:
See All (47 Total) >

Professional Memberships:
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society of Microbiology
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Presentations:
  • "p24 transmembrane proteins regulate secretory trafficking in African trypanosomes" XXIII Molecular Parasitology Meeting, Marine Biological Laboratory (2012)
  • "Characterization of the late endosome in Trypanosoma brucei" Gordon Research Conference, Salve Regina University, Biology of Host-parasite Interactions (2012)
  • "Sugar nucleotide transporters of Trypanosoma brucei: glycosylation and infectivity" ASMBM Annual Meeting (2012)
  • "TbRab7 regulates lysomal delivery of endocytosed but not newly synthesized proteins" XXII Molecular Parasitology Meeting, Marine Biological Laboratory (2011)
  • "Recent advances in cell-free and cell-based protein production at the transmembrane protein center." Conference on Structural Genomics (2011)
  • "Inhibition of nucleotide sugar transport in Trypanosoma brucei alters surface glycoproteins: implications for pathogenesis" IV Kinetoplastid Molecular Cell Biology Meeting, Marine Biological Laboratory (2011)
  • "TbRab7 regulates lysosomal delivery of endocytosed but not newly synthesized proteins." IV Kinetoplastid Molecular Cell Biology Meeting, Marine Biological Laboratory (2011)
  • "Developmentally regulated sphingolipid synthesis in African Trypanasomes" III Kinetoplastid Molecular Cell Biology Meeting, Marine Biological Laboratory (2009)
  • "Streamlined architecture and GPI-independent trafficking int he early secretory pathway of African trypanosomes" II Kinetoplastid Molecular Cell Biology Meeting, Marine Biological Laboratory (2009)
  • "Developmentally regulated sphingolipid synthesis in African trypanosomes." XIX Molecular Parasitology Meeting, Marine Biological Laboratory (2008)
Service Activities:
  • Committee Member; Microbes in Health & Disease Training Grant Steering Committee; Committee Member (2008–2012)
  • Committee Member; University of Wisconsin Sciences Tenure Committee; Chair (2008–2009)
  • Vice Director; Cell & Molecular Parasitology Training Grant; Co-Director (2007–2011)
  • Council Member; University of Wisconsin Biological Sciences Steering Council; Committee Member (2007–2009)
  • Director - Biology of Parasitism Course; Acting Director (2003–2005)
  • Instructor - Biology of Parasitism Course; Woods Hole, MA; Teacher (2001–2005)
  • Committee Member; University of Wisconsin Medical School Admissions Committee; Committee Member (2001–2002)
  • Comittee Member; Cellular and Molecular Biology Training Program Coordinating Committee; Committee Member (2000–2004)
  • Committee Member; Microbiology Doctoral Training Program Steering Committee; Committee Member (1999–2005)
  • Board Member; Editorial Boards: Eukaryotic Cell - 2006/present Molecular & Biochemical Parasitology - 2007/present; Board Member
  • Journal Review; Ad Hoc Journal Reviews: EMBO Journal, Infection and Immunity, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Molecular Microbiology, PLoS Pathogens, Proceedings National Academy of Sciences (USA); Ad Hoc Reviewer

Clinical Specialties:
Clinical Offices:
Insurance Accepted:

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Contact Information

138 Farber Hall
University at Buffalo (SUNY)
3435 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: 716-829-2907
Fax: 716-829-2158
Email: jdbangs@buffalo.edu


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