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John O’Donnell



Holger Sondermann


Juniata College, B. S. in Molecular Biology/ Art History, Magna Cum Laude with Distinction, 2010


Travel Grant Recipient for the International ASM Mobile DNA Meeting (2010)
American Chemical Society’s Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry (2009)
Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Scholar (2008)
McKelvey Foundation Scholar (2006-2010)

Research Experience:

Undergraduate Research at Juniata College with Professor Jill Keeney (2007-2010)
Research Internship with the United States Department of Homeland Security: National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (2009)

Current Research Activities:

Controlling proper membrane architecture and dynamics is an essential hallmark of eukaryotic cell biology. Therefore, it is not surprising that multiple systems exist to facilitate membrane deformation, fission, and fusion. Often, they require energy from nucleotide hydrolysis to mold the elastic lipid bilayer. My studies focus on the protein atlastin, a protein of the dynamin superfamily, which provides the mechanical forces to overcome the energetically unfavorable events during membrane fusion for maintaining endoplasmic reticulum morphology.


O’Donnell, J. P., Gehman, M., and Keeney, J. B. (2010) Regulators of ribonucleotide reductase inhibit Ty1 mobility in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Mob. DNA 1, 23. PubMed

Byrnes, L. J., Singh, A., Szeto, K., Benvin, N. M., O’Donnell, J. P., Zipfel, W. R., and Sondermann, H. (2013) Structural basis for conformational switching and GTP loading of the large G protein atlastin, EMBO J. 32, 369-384. PubMed


Understanding the molecular mechanism of the large G-protein atlastin and its role in controlling ER morphology (with Laura Byrnes and Holger Sondermann); 2013 Keck Biomembrane Retreat, Ithaca, NY, June 25-27, 2013

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