Professor Barth D. Grant, of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is interested in molecular membrane biology, especially the mechanisms controlling the uptake of proteins and lipids at the surface of cells, a process called endocytosis. The cells of our bodies are surrounded by a lipid bilayer that separates the molecules inside the cell from those on the outside. This membrane barrier provides cellular identity, and is essential for life as we know it, but it also represents a problem. How are large molecules that the cell needs to survive internalized? Likewise, how can the composition of the membrane be controlled to optimize the interaction of the cell with its environment? These fundamental issues of cellular function are solved in part by membrane traffic, the regulated movement of regions of membrane and their associated macromolecules using small carriers called vesicles. To gain new insight into the mechanisms that drive this pathway, the Grant lab takes advantage of the unique experimental features of the microscopic nematode C. elegans that have made it a leading model organism in nearly all areas of modern biological research. Chief among these features are highly advanced genetics and transgenic technology, very simple methods for gene knockdown (RNAi) and knockout, coupled with a transparent body that allows visualization of fluorescently tagged molecules in living animals.