Steven Backues

A photo of Steven Backues

Associate Professor


501F Science Complex


[email protected]


  • BA, 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!

To learn more, visit my research group website.


  • CHEM 351, 451, 452 & 453 (Biochemistry)
  • CHEM 111 (The Chemistry of Us)
  • CHEM 122 (General Chemistry Lab)

Publications and Presentations

Grants, Honors and Awards

  • William Fennel Symposium Faculty Mentor Award (2017)
  • NSF RUI grant “Scaffold or Assembly Line: How Does Atg11 Organize its Binding Partners for the Initiation of Selective Autophagy?” (2016-2019) 

Additional Information

To learn more, visit my research group website.