Tan Lab

Jay Tan, PhD
Assistant Professor of Cell Biology

The Tan lab studies cellular principles of aging and age-related pathology.

Tan Lab

Lab Focus

The Tan Lab studies core principles of cell biology in aging. Organelle stress and damages are common risk factors in aging and diseases. A major goal of our lab is elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the sensing, repairing, and clearance of damaged organelles in mammalian cells. We search for essential, unifying principles behind complex stress responses through unbiased approaches, and dissect underlying mechanisms with multidisciplinary methods including molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics. Current research topics include lysosomal quality control in aging and neurodegeneration, inter-organelle communications in cell homeostasis, and lysosomal stress in age-related inflammation.

What question I’d like to answer

Can we extend lifespan by stimulating cellular stress response pathways?

For more information: jaytanlab.org

Faculty Bio
Jay’s early motivation in seeking a career in science was cultivated at Nanjing University in China where he undertook three years of undergraduate research in biochemistry, cell biology, and pharmacology. In his PhD studies with Dr. Richard A. Anderson, a phospholipid expert at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jay received extensive research training in cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry, with a focus on stress-induced membrane trafficking. Supported by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) predoctoral fellowship, Jay made a series of discoveries in his PhD work from different lipid effectors in receptor trafficking, lysosomal degradation and autophagy to the non-canonical, kinase-independent role for EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) in autophagy initiation. In 2016, Jay started his postdoctoral training as a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Irvington Postdoctoral Fellow at UT Southwestern working with Dr. James Chen. With further training in advanced biochemistry, Jay quickly uncovered phosphoinositide regulation of the cGAS/STING innate immunity pathway and also contributed to the work on an unconventional role for STING in autophagy induction. His research experience in lysosomal degradation, stress response, autophagy and innate immunity triggered his strong interest in pursuing a science career in aging research. After his postdoc training, in 2019, Jay joined the Aging Institute at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, working with Dr. Toren Finkel as a research faculty member. One of his long-term research interests since graduate school has been lysosomes, the dysfunction of which is closely related to aging and age-related pathology. Through a proteomic approach, Jay discovered an essential signaling pathway for rapid lysosomal repair with broad implications in aging and age-related diseases. In January 2022, he received his NIA K01 career development award. In July 2022, Jay started his independent lab in the Aging Institute and Department of Cell Biology at University of Pittsburgh.
Selected Publications

Tan X, Thapa N, Sun Y, Anderson RA. A kinase independent role for EGF   receptor in autophagy initiation. Cell. 2015;160(1-2):145-60.

Tan X, Sun Y, Thapa N, Liao Y, Hedman AC, Anderson RA. LAPTM4B is a PtdIns(4,5)P2 effector that   regulates EGFR signaling, lysosomal sorting, and degradationEMBO   J. 2015; 34(4):475-90.

Tan X, Lambert PF, Rapraeger ACAnderson RA. Stress-induced EGFR trafficking:   mechanisms, functions, and therapeutic implications. Trends Cell Biol. 2016;26(5):352-66.

Tan X, Thapa N, Liao Y, Choi S, Anderson RA. PtdIns(4,5)P2  signaling regulates ATG14 and autophagy. PNAS. 2016;113(39):10896-901. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1523145113.

Tan X, Anderson RA. Keeping in touch with the ER networkScience.   2017;12;356(6338): 584-585.

Tan X, Sun L, Chen J, Chen ZJ. Detection of microbial infections through innate immune sensing of nucleic acids. Annual Review of Microbiology. 2018;72:447-78.

Gui   X, Yang H, Li T, Tan X, Shi P, Du   F, Chen ZJ. Autophagy Induction through STING Vesicle Trafficking Is a   Primordial Function of the cGAS Pathway. Nature. 2019;567(7747):262-266.

Tan JX, Finkel T. Autophagy goes nuclearNature Cell Biology2020;22(10):1159-61.

Tan JX, Finkel T. Mitochondria as intracellular signaling platforms in health and diseaseJournal of Cell Biology.  2020;219(5): e202002179.


Complete List of Published Work: Pubmed    Google Scholar

Current Lab Members
Micheal Ewing, MS, Research Technician
Haoxiang Yang, BS, Research Assistant
Research Support