Christopher Janetopoulos, PhD

Christopher Janetopoulos, PhD

Christopher Janetopoulos PhD

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences


BA, Biology and Pre-Med, Augustana College

PhD, Biology, Texas A&M University

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Biological Chemistry and Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institute

Research Interests

Cytokinesis and cell migration are two processes that have been implicated in many disease states, including many forms of cancer. Research in my lab is focused on understanding how cells establish and maintain polarity during chemotaxis (directed cell migration) and also during cytokinesis (cell division). We have discovered that the underlying mechanisms regulating both processes are remarkably similar. In fact, the directed migration process likely biases the same machinery regulating morphological changes which take place during cell division. Microfluidics and advanced techniques in fluorescence microscopy are being used to visualize these proteins and their localization under various conditions in the living cell and in living animals.


We use human cancer cell lines, neutrophils, mice, Tetrahymena, and the social amoeba D. discoideum for these studies. Current projects include:  1) Investigate, using several sophisticated microscopy techniques, the signaling and cytoskeletal events that regulate motility and cell polarity. We are particularly interested in the influence of the plasma membrane phosphoinositides on the cytoskeleton. Most of the regulators we study have been implicated in cancer. 2) Develop new techniques for imaging cells in vitro and in living animals (intravital imaging). This work is being performed in collaboration with the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) and also with the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).

Selected Scholarly Activity

Myers KA, Janetopoulos C. Recent advances in imaging subcellular processes. F1000Research. 2016; 5.

Aufderheide KJ, Janetopoulos C. Migration of Dictyostelium discoideum to the Chemoattractant Folic Acid. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2016; 1407:25-39.

Skoge M, Wong E, Hamza B, Bae A, Martel J, Kataria R, Keizer-Gunnink I, Kortholt A, Van Haastert PJ, Charras G, Janetopoulos C, Irimia D. A Worldwide Competition to Compare the Speed and Chemotactic Accuracy of Neutrophil-Like Cells. PloS one. 2016; 11(6):e0154491.

Zinskie JA, Shribak M, Bruist MF, Aufderheide KJ, Janetopoulos C. A mechanical microcompressor for high resolution imaging of motile specimens. Experimental cell research. 2015; 337(2):249-56. NIHMSID: NIHMS746762

Chen, BC, et al. (2014) Lattice Light Sheet Microscopy: Imaging Molecules to Embryos at High Spatiotemporal Resolution. Science (In Press).

Hockemeyer, K., et al (2014) A three-dimensional microfluidic device for interrogating cell-cell interactions in the tumor microenvironment. Biomicrofluidics 8 (4), 044105.

Yan, Y., et al. (2014) A Microfludic-Enabled Mechanical Microcompressor for the Immobilization of Live Single- and Multi-Cellular Specimens. Micros. and Microanal. Jan 21:1-11.

Srinivasan, et al. (2014) Identification of a Farnesol Analogue as a Ras Function Inhibitor using both an in vivo Ras activation sensor and phenotypic screening approach. Mol. and Cell. Biochemistry. Feb;387(1-2):177-86.

Wu, Y. & Janetopoulos, C., (2013) The G alpha subunit Gα8 inhibits proliferation, promotes adhesion and regulates cell differentiation. Dev Biol ;380(1):58-72.

Wu, Y. & Janetopoulos, C., (2013) Systematic analysis of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) metabolism and function in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. J Biol Chem. 2013 288(21):15280-90.

Srinivasan, K, et al (2013) Delineating the core regulatory elements crucial for directed cell migration by examining folic-acid-mediated responses. J Cell Sci, 126(Pt 1), 221-33.

Wright, G., Costa, L., Terekhov, A., Hofmeister, W., Jowhar, D., Janetopoulos, C. On-Chip Open Microfluidic Devices for Chemotaxis Studies. (2012) Micros. and Microanal.18: 4, 816-828.

Elzie, C., Colby, J., Sammons, M, and Janetopoulos, C., (2009) Dynamic Localization of G-Proteins in Dictyostelium Discoideum. J Cell Sci., 122:2597–2603 (Featured Article). 

Janetopoulos, C., Firtel, R.A. (2008) Directional Sensing During Chemotaxis. FEBS Lett 582: 2075-2085.

Janetopoulos, C. & Devreotes, P., (2006). Phosphoinositide Signaling Plays a Key Role in Cytokinesis. J Cell Biol; 174(4): 485-90.

Contact Information

Office location: McNeil Science & Technology Center, Room 373
Mailing address: Box # 38
University of Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495
Office Phone: 267-295-3118
Office Fax: 215-596-8710

c [dot] janetopoulos [at] usciences [dot] edu