Welcome to the Laboratory of Scott Stagg

We use three-dimensional electron microscopy to determine the structures of large biological molecules. These large multi-subunit complexes play an important role in biology by performing diverse functions in the cell such as synthesis (e.g. the ribosome), vesicle trafficking (e.g. clathrin and COPII), and transport (e.g. dynein). In our lab, we use cryoEM to study the structure of coat protein complex II (COPII) coated vesicles. COPII vesicles are involved in the secretory pathway, where they facilitate the transport of protein and lipid between the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. This is a fundamental pathway in eukaryotes, and its disruption can result in cell death or one of several diseases. Current studies in the lab are aimed at increasing the resolution of the 3-D reconstructions of COPII cages and COPII coats, measuring the flexibility of Sec13/31 cages, and reconstructing natively assembled COPII coated vesicles. Another project in the lab is aimed at increasing the throughput and resolution of acquiring and processing cryoEM data. Here we use software called Leginon and Appion for automated EM data acquisition and processing, and this allows us to control and optimize parameters for three-dimensional reconstructions.