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 2021

  • Sierra defends her thesis! She will be starting her independent career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Claremont Colleges. Congrats Prof. Dr. Williams, we will miss you!
  • Zi defends his thesis! He will be conducting his postdoctoral studies in Jim Wells’ lab at UC San Francisco. Congratulations Dr. Yao!
  • Our latest preprint on multicomponent bioluminescence imaging via phasor imaging has been posted in BioRxiv. Congrats everyone!
  • Our work on characterizing naphthylamino luciferins for multicomponent imaging was published in ChemBioChem. Congrats Carly!
  • Our latest work on developing a caged small molecule for control of gene expression is now online in ChemBioChem. Congratulations Anna and Sabrina!
  • Our review on bioorthogonal reactions with triarylphosphines was published in Chemical Reviews. Congrats Tyler and Robby!

May 2021

  • Our latest work on developing coumarin luciferins for multicomponent imaging is online at ChemRxiv. Congratulations everyone!
  • Our transcriptome analysis of a metastatic breast cancer model has been posted on BioRxiv. Congrats!
  • Zi was awarded the 2021 Edward K. C. Lee award, the highest honor awarded to a graduate student in the chemistry department at UCI. Congratulations!
  • Sierra was awarded the Graduate Award for Departmental Mentorship Award and the Jacqueline Smitrovich Prize. Congrats Sierra!
  • Anna and Anastasia were selected for a Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship! Congrats!

April 2021

March 2021

  • Undergraduate researcher Landon Taylor has accepted Boston College’s offer of admission to graduate school! Congrats Landon!
  • Undergraduate alumna Elena Helm will be attending graduate school at NYU. Congratulations!
  • Lila Halbers officially joins the lab! Welcome!
  • Our report of a rapid, multicomponent imaging platform was published in ACS Chemical Biology. Congrats!
  • Kat won an NSF GRFP honorable mention! Congrats, Kat!

February 2021

  • Our work on developing disubstituted luciferins as orthogonal imaging tools was published in Biochemistry. Congrats Sierra!
  • Zi was awarded a Dissertation Fellowship. Congratulations!

January 2021

  • Pharm Sci rotation student Lila Halbers joins the lab for the winter quarter. Welcome!
  • Our latest collaborative work was published in Cell. Congrats!