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

November 2017

  • Colin, Will, Krysten, Marian, Monique, and Christine just published in ACS Central Science! Read it here!

September 2017

  • Anna and Sierra were both selected as NSF IGERT fellows! Awesome job!

August 2017

  • Zach and Jenn gave talks at the ACS meeting in D.C. this year. A big thanks to those who stopped by!
  • Zach won a travel award from the ACS Younger Chemists Committee. Congratulations!

July 2017

  • Summer rotation student Carly Brennan and undergraduates Nima Singh and Ariana Motavalli join the lab. Welcome!
  • Colin and Jenn’s perspective on bioluminescent tools was published in ACS Biochemistry! Read it here!

June 2017

  • Undergraduate Sydnei Head and high school student Jennifer Sun join the lab for the summer. Welcome!
  • Our latest work on cyclopropenones was highlighted in ACS Chemical Biology. Read it here!
  • Colin was awarded a graduate research fellowship from Allergan! Congratulations!
  • Yusef and Zane were awarded undergraduate research fellowships from UROP and summer research fellowships from Allergan! Awesome job guys!
  • Graduate students Anna Love and Anastasia Ionkina officially join the lab. Welcome!

May 2017

  • Christine was awarded the UCI Chancellor’s Award of Distinction. Awesome job!
  • Will successfully defended his thesis! Congrats Dr. Porterfield! He will be pursuing his postdoctoral studies with Wenjun Zhang at Cal Berkeley.
  • Zach was awarded the Medical Research Postdoctoral Fellowship from the George Hewitt Foundation. Congrats!
  • Jenn’s Nature Chemical Biology commentary with Luke Lavis and Zev Gartner is online! Check it out!
  • Our latest work on bioorthogonal cyclopropenones was published in JACS! Congrats Dave (Row), and Hui-Wen!

March 2017

  • Undergraduate researchers Zane Long and Yusef Ibreighith join the lab. Welcome!
  • Zi was awarded an NSF GRFP fellowship! Congrats, Zi!
  • Krysten was featured in a summary article on the 2016 ICBS meeting in ACS Chemical Biology. Read it here!

February 2017

  • Krysten successfully defended her thesis! She will be joining the Lewis group at the University of Chicago to complete her postdoctoral studies. Congratulations Dr. Jones! We wish you the best of luck!

January 2017

  • New year, new paper! Our work on orthogonal bioluminescent probes was published in JACS. Congrats Will, Krysten, Colin, Dave, and Miranda!