Prof Ritu Sarpal

Ritu Sarpal

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream


Campus

St. George (downtown)

CSB Appointment

Full

Research Areas

Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics / Genomics, Molecular Biology

Education

Ph.D Tata Insititute of Fundamental Research 2004
M.Sc. Indian Institute of Technology 1999

Primary Undergraduate Department

Cell and Systems Biology

Graduate Programs

Cell and Systems Biology

Research Description

Adherens junctions (AJs) are specialized intercellular junctions that act as a “molecular glue’’ to bind epithelial cells together to form various tissues in our body. AJs regulate animal development, control tissue homeostasis, and impact human diseases such as cancer. Using Drosophila melanogaster as an in vivo model system, I have studied the assembly and function of AJs to understand the molecular mechanisms by which they regulate cell-cell adhesion and control tissue growth. My expertise is in using the tools of fly genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, and live imaging techniques, to shed light on important fundamental questions in this area. As a lecturer, my goal is to create a positive and enjoyable learning environment. I involve students in team-based learning, exploring case studies, and dissecting research papers, in order to encourage active participation and promote critical scientific thinking. I employ teaching strategies such as discussing the history of famous scientific discoveries and the scientists behind them, in order to give students a flavor of how science works. I use technology as an effective teaching tool – from animations for explaining complex molecular processes, to polling students using online tools to get feedback on their understanding during lectures. In addition, I have also been involved in developing labs, creating online labs and tutorials, and in instructing and coordinating graduate teaching assistants to achieve the best learning outcomes for our undergraduate students.


Contact Information

Email

Mailing Address

25 Harbord Street,
Toronto, Ontario,
M5S3G5


Recent News

Developing Excellent Science Brings Dr Ritu Sarpal a Faculty Appointment

Developmental Biologist Dr Ritu Sarpal’s dedication to teaching and training has earned her a position as Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in…

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Publications

2019

Role of α-Catenin and its mechanosensing properties in regulating Hippo/YAP-dependent tissue growth

Peifer M, Sarpal R, Yan V, Kazakova L, Sheppard L, Yu JC, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Tepass U
2019, PLOS Genetics, 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008454

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2018

Force-dependent allostery of the α-catenin actin-binding domain controls adherens junction dynamics and functions

Ishiyama N, Sarpal R, Wood MN, Barrick SK, Nishikawa T, Hayashi H, Kobb AB, Flozak AS, Yemelyanov A, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Yonemura S, Leckband DE, Gottardi CJ, Tepass U, Ikura M
2018, Nature Communications, 10.1038/s41467-018-07481-7

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2015

α-catenin phosphorylation promotes intercellular adhesion through a dual-kinase mechanism

Escobar D, Desai R, Ishiyama N, Folmsbee S, Novak M, Flozak A, Daugherty R, Mo R, Nanavati D, Sarpal R, Leckband D, Ikura M, Tepass U, Gottardi C
2015, Journal of Cell Science, 10.1242/jcs.163824

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2013

Monomeric α-catenin links cadherin to the actin cytoskeleton

Desai R, Sarpal R, Ishiyama N, Pellikka M, Ikura M, Tepass U
2013, Nature Cell Biology, 10.1038/ncb2685

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2012

Mutational analysis supports a core role for Drosophila α-Catenin in adherens junction function

Sarpal R, Pellikka M, Patel RR, Hui FYW, Godt D, Tepass U
2012, Journal of Cell Science, 10.1242/jcs.096644

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2010

Stabilization of the Actomyosin Ring Enables Spermatocyte Cytokinesis in Drosophila

Goldbach P, Wong R, Beise N, Sarpal R, Trimble WS, Brill JA, Chang F
2010, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 10.1091/mbc.e09-08-0714

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2003

Drosophila KAP Interacts with the Kinesin II Motor Subunit KLP64D to Assemble Chordotonal Sensory Cilia, but Not Sperm Tails

Sarpal R, Todi SV, Sivan-Loukianova E, Shirolikar S, Subramanian N, Raff EC, Erickson JW, Ray K, Eberl DF
2003, Current Biology, 10.1016/j.cub.2003.09.025

Drosophila KAP Interacts with the Kinesin II Motor Subunit KLP64D to Assemble Chordotonal Sensory Cilia, but Not Sperm Tails

Sarpal R, Todi SV, Sivan-Loukianova E, Shirolikar S, Subramanian N, Raff EC, Erickson JW, Ray K, Eberl DF
2003, Current Biology, 10.1016/j.cub.2003.09.025

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