Visitor of the Week: Celia Deville


Meet Celia Deville of the Birbeck, University of London (United Kingdom). The postdoctoral researcher is a member of Helen Saibil’s lab in the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, a joint institute between Birbeck and University College London. The CSHL first-timer was on campus for the 2018 Protein Homeostasis in Health & Disease meeting where she presented a poster entitled “Structural pathway of regulated substrate transfer and threading through the Hsp100 disaggregate ClpB.”

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I’m interested in understanding how some chaperone re-solubilize protein aggregates in the cell. I currently study a Hsp100 protein and use cryo-electron microscopy to characterize its structures in different states to understand how it can disentangle protein aggregates.

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
I became familiar with the problems of aggregation of unfolded or misfolded proteins during my PhD when I studied disordered proteins using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This resulted in my becoming interested in the mechanisms involved in prevention and reversal of protein aggregation, and disaggregates are fascinating proteins machines for a structural biologist!

How did your scientific journey begin? 
I initially studied physics and chemistry, and was interested in the molecular mechanisms behind chemical reactions. I fell into structural biology because proteins are amazing molecular machines able to perform complex tasks in a specific and highly-regulated manner. More specifically, I’m interested in the importance of dynamics and conformational changes of the macromolecules driving biological processes.

Was there something specific about Protein Homeostasis in Health & Disease meeting that drew you to attend?
I work on protein disaggregation so the topic of the meeting along with the fantastic line-up of speakers drew me to attend. It is also a great opportunity to informally discuss recent results with researchers who apply a wide range of techniques to a common set of questions.

What is your key takeaway from the meeting?
It’s all a question of balance, which isn’t surprising when you are talking of homeostasis! It is fascinating to see that protein quality control mechanisms can be both very general and finely-tuned to adapt to certain substrates, stress conditions etc.

How many CSHL meetings have you attended?
This is the first CSHL meeting I have attend, and I very much enjoyed its program and organization on protein homeostasis so I would love to attend again in the future.

If someone curious in this meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would definitely recommend the meeting to anyone interested in chaperones and/or protein homeostasis. This meeting will broaden your views and allow you to meet experts developing new methods and models to understand the general questions of the field.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
I really enjoyed the science and non-science related exchanges with the other meeting participants. The atmosphere is relaxed and people are very accessible – no matter their career level.

Thank you to Celia for being this week's featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here.