Seasson Vitiello

Seasson Vitiello is an adjunct Assistant Scientist in the Sanford Children's Health Research Center.  She is also a full-time Assistant Professor in the biology department at Augustana College, where she teaches Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Cell Signaling.  Her research lab is located in the Gilbert Science Center on the Augustana Campus, but she also can occasionally be found working in David Pearce's lab at Sanford.  In addition, Seasson runs the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR). Learn more.

The focus of Seasson’s research is to use the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae to study the human disease cystinosis, an autosomal recessive pediatric lysosomal storage disorder characterized by the accumulation of cystine in the lysosomes of patient cells.  It is caused by mutations in CTNS, which encodes the lysosomal cystine transporter Cystinosin.  Although the causative gene and the primary biochemical defect have been identified, it is still unclear what pathways could be contributing to the cell death that is observed in cystinosis patient cells.  The yeast model is useful for identifying pathways that have been altered due to lack of a functional cystine transporter by studying phenotypes that occur when the ortholog of Cystinosin, Ers1p, is absent in ers1-? cells.  By exploiting the relative ease of yeast genetic manipulation and the organism's highly annotated genome, Seasson and her students use molecular genetics, functional genomics, cell biology, and biochemistry to understand the role of Ers1p in the cell.

Contact Information for Seasson Vitiello:
Seasson Phillips Vitiello, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Augustana College
Adjunct Assistant Scientist, Children’s Health Research Center, Sanford Research
Augustana College Biology Department
2001 S. Summit Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57197
(605) 274-5525