Aoife Heaslip, Ph.D.
Dr. Heaslip received her B. Sc from University College Dublin, Ireland in 2002. Her graduate studies were performed in the lab of Dr. Gary Ward in the Microbiology department at UVM and she received her Ph.D in 2008. From 2008-2010 Aoife was a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Ke Hu at Indiana University, Bloomington. From 2010-2014 Aoife worked as a postdoc in David Warshaws lab in the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics department at UVM. In 2014, she was promoted to Assistant Professor.
Pancreatic beta-cells secrete insulin in response to elevated blood glucose and perturbation of this secretary process leads to diabetes mellitus, a disease which affects 25 million Americans. Insulin granules are synthesized in the trans-golgi network and are then transported by kinesin-I on microtubules to the cell periphery. Once at the periphery the vesicles must be maintained in close proximity to the plasma membrane (PM) and transported through the actin cortex to docking sites on the PM. The overall goal of this research is to understand how the insulin granules effectively navigate the dense actin cortex and the role of the molecular motor myosin Va in this process. Our methodology includes live cell TIRF microscopy with high spatial and temporal resolution of insulin granules movements in the pancreatic beta-cell line INS-1 as well as super-resolution STORM microscopy of fixed INS-1 cells to characterize any changes in actin structure that may be occurring upon glucose stimulation.
Heaslip AT, Nelson SR, Warshaw DM (2016) Dense granule trafficking in Toxoplasma gondii requires a unique class 27 myosin and actin filaments. Mol Biol Cell 27(13): 2080-9.
Heaslip AT, Nelson SR, Lombardo AT, Beck Previs S, Armstrong J, Warshaw DM (2014) Cytoskeletal dependence of insulin granule movement dynamics in INS-1 beta-cells in response to glucose. PLoS One 9(10): e109082.
Leung JM, Tran F, Pathak RB, Poupart S, Heaslip AT, Ballif BA, Westwood NJ, Ward GE (2014) Identification of T. gondii myosin light chain-1 as a direct target of TachypleginA-2, a small-molecule inhibitor of parasite motility and invasion. PLoS One 9(6): e98056.
Sivagurunathan S, Heaslip A, Liu J, Hu K (2013) Identification of functional modules of AKMT, a novel lysine methyltransferase regulating the motility of Toxoplasma gondii. Mol Biochem Parasitol 189(1-2): 43-53.
Armstrong JM, Krementsova E, Michalek AJ, Heaslip AT, Nelson SR, Trybus KM, Warshaw DM (2012) Full-length myosin Va exhibits altered gating during processive movement on actin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(5): E218-24.
Heaslip AT, Nishi M, Stein B, Hu K (2011) The motility of a human parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is regulated by a novel lysine methyltransferase. PLoS Pathog 7(9): e1002201.
Heaslip AT, Dzierszinski F, Stein B, Hu K (2010) TgMORN1 is a key organizer for the basal complex of Toxoplasma gondii. PLoS Pathog 6(2): e1000754.
Faculty Highlighted Publications
Armstrong JM, Krementsove E, Michalek AJ, Heaslip AT, Nelson SR, Trybus KM, Warshaw DM. (2012) Full-length MyoVa exhibits altered gating during processive movement on Actin. Proc Natl Acad Sci 109 (5) E218-24
Heaslip AT, Nishi M, Stein B, Hu K (2011) The motility of a human parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is regulated by a novel lysine methyltransferase. PLoS Pathogens7(9).
Heaslip AT, Dzierszinski F, Stein B, Hu K (2010) TgMORN1 Is a Key Organizer for the Basal Complex of Toxoplasma gondii. PLoS Pathogens 6(2).
Heaslip AT, Leung JM, Carey KL, Catti F, Warshaw DM, Westwood NJ, Baliff BB, Ward GE (2010) A Small-Molecule Inhibitor of T. gondii Motility Induces the Posttranslational Modification of Myosin Light Chain-1 and Inhibits Myosin Motor Activity. PLoS Pathogens 6(1).
Heaslip AT, Ems-McClung SC, Hu K (2009) TgICMAP1 Is a Novel Microtubule Binding Protein in Toxoplasma gondii. PLoS ONE 4(10).