The He Laboratory

Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University


Images and Videos

A. Diffused GFP-LC3 signal in wild-type skeletal muscle before exercise

B. GFP-LC3 puncta (autophagosomes) in wild-type skeletal muscle after 80 min of exercise


A. At the start of running (10 m/min)

B. After 95 min of running (18 m/min)

Upper lane: wild-type mouse; lower lane: autophagy-deficient (BCL2 AAA) mouse

"Becn2 harnessing autophagy and receptors" (2014)

Becn2/Beclin 2 is a newly identified Beclin family member that is essential for autophagy. It also regulates lysosomal degradation of endocytosed G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), through the N-terminal interaction of Beclin 2 with an adaptor protein GASP1. The cover image illustrates the dual roles of the “cowboy” Beclin 2 (containing an N-terminal domain, CCD (coiled-coil domain) and ECD (evolutionarily conserved domain)): riding the autophagy “horse”, and harnessing the 7-transmembrane GPCR “cow” by the N-terminal “arm” and the GASP1 “lasso”. The background mountain depicts plasma membrane, and cacti and rocks represent various intracellular organelles (including mitochondria, ER and Golgi) and cytosolic proteins. The image is designed by Congcong He, and artwork illustrated by Dorothy Zhu.

"Differential roles of autophagy in insulin production versus sensitivity" (2018)

Autophagy, an essential lysosomal degradation pathway, plays different roles in distinct metabolic tissues. Hyperactive autophagy benefits insulin-responsive tissues on insulin sensitivity, but reduces pancreatic β cell function by excessive autophagic degradation of insulin-containing vesicles (named vesicophagy). The wave represents an autophagic membrane engulfing insulin granules. The two peaks in the background represent two non-overlapping rheostat curves for autophagy function in insulin-responsive tissues (right) versus in insulin-producing β cells (left), a shift driven by vesicophagy. The image is designed by Kenta Kuramoto and Congcong He, and modified from Ukiyo-e artworks.


In this short video, Congcong is discussing how the addictive effects of cocaine are regulated by an autophagy protein Becn2 and can be prevented by autophagy inhibitors. (2021)




3/26/2015 - Thanks everyone for Congcong's baby shower at CDB! "Future Scientist" Onesie Series -- Inspirational and artistic drawings of faculty, staff, students and fellows from CDB!