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Joshua N. Bembenek

Contact Info

FacultyBembenek2Joshua N. Bembenek
Assistant Professor, BCMB

Office: Mossman 414, (865-974-4085)

Lab: Mossman 420A


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Ph.D. University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School

Research Statement

Cells must coordinate multiple processes during division to ensure that each daughter cell inherits all the necessary constituents to maintain viability. Faithful cell division is essential to prevent aneuploidy, which is linked to infertility, genetic disease and cancer progression. The lab is focused on understanding a novel pathway that controls vesicle trafficking during cell division, which is essential to coordinate chromosome segregation with cytokinesis. Interestingly, core cell cycle genes that are well characterized for their fundamental roles in regulating chromosome segregation are also unexpectedly involved in vesicle trafficking. We also have a project focused on how cells regulate the final abscission event in cytokinesis, and the roles of the midbody during embryonic development. Our favorite model system is the C. elegans embryo, which is an ideal system to learn more about the regulation of cell division during development.

Kymograph of Aurora B Dynamics During Cytokinesis

Kymograph of Aurora B Dynamics During Cytokinesis

Separase Localization During Meiosis I

Separase Localization During Meiosis I

Selected Publications

Melesse, M., Sloan, D.E., Benthal, J.E., Caylor, Q., Gosine, K., Bai, X., Bembenek, J.N.  (2018)  Genetic Identification of Novel Separase Regulators in Caenorhabditis elegans. G3, 8(2), 695-705.

Bai, X. and Bembenek, J.N.  (2017)  Protease Dead Separase Inhibits Chromosome Segregation and RAB-11 Vesicle Trafficking. Cell Cycle. DOI: [10.1080/15384101.2017.1363936].

Chen, B.C., Legant, W.R., Kai, W., Shao, L., Milkie, D.E., Davidson, M.W., Janetopoulos, C., Wu, X.S., Hammer, J.A., Liu, Z., English, B.P., Mimori-Kiyosue, Y., Romero, D.P., Ritter, A.T., Lippincott-Schwartz, J., Fritz-Laylin, L., Mullins, R.D., Mitchell, D.M., Bembenek, J.N., Raymann, A.C., Böhme, R., Grill, S.W., Wang, J.T., Seydoux, G., Tulu, U.S., Kiehart, D.P., Betzig, E.  (2014)  Lattice Light Sheet Microscopy: Imaging Molecules to Embryos at High Spatiotemporal Resolution. Science, 346, 1257998.

Mitchell, D.M., Uehlein, L.R., Bembenek, J.N.  (2014)  Protease-Dead Separase is Dominant Negative in the C. elegans Embryo.  PLoS ONE 9(9): e108188.

Bembenek, J.N., Verbrugghe, K.J.C., Khanikar, J., Csankovszki, G., Chan, R.C.  (2013)  Condensin I and the spindle midzone prevent furrow regression induced by chromosome mis-segregation in C. elegans embryos.  Current Biology, 23, 937-946.

Bembenek, J.N., White, J.G. and Zheng, Y.  (2010)  A Role for Separase in the Regulation of RAB-11-positive Vesicles at the Cleavage Furrow and Midbody.  Current Biology, 20(3), 259-264.