The Prescher Lab

Expanding the imaging toolkit to spy on cellular communication


Our research team is crafting novel probes to "spy" on cells and decipher their communications in vivo. Cellular networks drive diverse aspects of human biology, ranging from immune function to memory formation. Breakdowns in these networks also underlie numerous pathologies. While cell-cell interactions play key roles in human health and disease, the mechanisms by which cells transact information in vivo are not completely understood. The number of cells types involved, the timing and location of their interactions, the molecular cues exchanged, and the long-term fates of the cells remain poorly characterized in most cases. We are designing and deploying custom tools to visualize cellular networks in real time—and with molecular precision—in physiologically relevant environments. Collectively, our work is decoding cellular communications relevant to infectious disease, cancer metastases, and immune function.


News and Events

June 2018

  • Nima and Danica were both awarded Allergan and UROP summer research fellowships! Congratulations!
  • Zane was awarded the ACS Polymer Education Organic Chemistry Award and the American Institute of Chemists Student Award at the UCI Department of Chemistry Award Ceremony. Keep up the stellar work!
  • Our review on recent advances in bioluminescence imaging was published in Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. Congratulations Zi and Brendan!
  • MB&B rotation student Rodger de Miranda, Marya Ornelas from Claremont Colleges, and Sreekar Kasturi from Northwood High School join the lab for the summer. Welcome!
  • Zach is onto bigger and better things, and accepted a research scientist position at UES in Dayton, OH! It was a pleasure working with you in the lab!

May 2018

  • Undergraduate researcher Buvan Sathishkumar joins the lab. Welcome!
  • Colin was awarded the 2018 Edward K. C. Lee award, the highest honor awarded to a graduate student in the chemistry department at UCI. Congratulations Colin!
  • Colin successfully defends his thesis! He will pursue his postdoctoral studies with Amy Palmer at the University of Colorado, Boulder. We will miss you Dr. Rathbun!
  • Dave was selected to present his research at the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Graduate Research Symposium. Keep crushing it Dave!
  • Our review on developing new bioorthogonal reactions was published in Accounts of Chemical Research. Congratulations Dave!

April 2018

  • Our collaboration with the Thorpe lab on using Gaussia luciferase to monitor protein folding was published in Protein Science!
  • Undergrad researcher Kevin Jung and MB&B rotation student Jean-Louis Bru join the lab. Welcome!
  • Carly won an NSF GRFP honorable mention! Congrats!
  • Sierra was named an NSF GRFP fellow! Congratulations, Sierra!

March 2018

  • Sean won best chemical biology/biochemistry oral presentation at the UC Chemical Symposium this year.
  • Kevin Ng officially joins the lab. Welcome!
  • Sean was awarded a travel grant from the ACS Biol Division for the upcoming ACS National Meeting in New Orleans. Congrats!
  • Dave was awarded the Genentech Graduate Student Award. He will be presenting his research at the Genentech Graduate Student Symposium in Chemical Research in May. Congratulations Dave!

February 2018

  • Drew Ferreira from the Beaudry lab at OSU joins us for his postdoctoral studies. Welcome to the lab!
  • Our latest work on the pyridone-luciferin scaffold was published in ChemBioChem. Congrats Brendan, Krysten, and Dave (McCutcheon)!
  • Zi was awarded an ACS Biol Division travel grant to attend the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans. Congratulations!

January 2018

  • Colin was selected to present his work at the Junior Scientist Workshop on Protein Engineering held at the Janelia Research Campus. Nicely done!
  • Jenn’s introductory course to chemical biology was featured in the Educational and Outreach Projects from the Cottrell Scholars Collaborative Undergraduate and Graduate Education. Check it out!
  • Undergrad researchers Nima, Zane, and Paola were awarded UROP fellowships for 2018. Congratulations!
  • MCP rotation student Kevin Ng joins the lab. Welcome!