Eastern Michigan University

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Steven Backues, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Steven Backues 501F Mark Jefferson Science Complex


[email protected]


B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College - Chemistry and Biochemistry
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison - Biochemistry
Postdoc, University of Michigan

Interests and Expertise

My general area of interest is membrane trafficking, and how proteins control the shape and dynamics of cellular membranes. I am currently studying the membrane trafficking involved in the process of autophagy in yeast.  Autophagy ("self-eating") is a both a means of surviving starvation and a method of disposing of damaged or unwanted cytoplasmic constituents by wrapping them up in a double-membraned autophagosome and sending them to the vacuole to be degraded.  It is conserved through eukaryotes, and in humans helps to protect against neurodegeneration and other diseases of aging.  I am using yeast genetics and in vitro binding studies to examine the molecular details of how the autophagosome is formed.  I am looking for both undergraduates (especially freshman and sophomore level) and master's students to participate with me in this exciting research!      


Meiyan Jin, Ding He, Steven K. Backues Mallory A. Freeburg, Xu Liu, John K. Kim, and Daniel J. Klionsky (2014)
Transcriptional regulation by Pho23 modulates the frequency of autophagosome formation
Current Biology 24:1314-1322

Steven K. Backues, Dachua Chen, Jishou Ruan, Zhiping Xie, and Daniel J. Klionsky (2014)
Estimating the size and number of autophagic bodies by electron microscopy PDF       Supplemental Files (zip)        Tutorial Videos (zip)
Autophagy 10:155-64

Steven K. Backues and Daniel J. Klionsky(2012)
Atg11: A Rab-dependent, coiled-coil membrane protein that acts as a tether for autophagy. PDF
Autophagy 8:1275-8

Steven K. Backues, David A. Korasic, Antje Heese and Sebastian Y. Bednarek. (2010)
The Arabidopsis Dynamin-Related Protein 2 (DRP2) family is essential for gametophytic development. PDF
Plant Cell 

Steven K. Backues and Sebastian Y. Bednarek. (2010).
Arabidopsis Dynamin-Related Protein 1A polymers bind, but do not tubulate, liposomes. PDF
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 393:734-39



Courses Taught

General Chemistry Lab(122)

The Department of Chemistry is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 214 Pray-Harrold