Erin Sheets, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Erin Sheets


Office Address

College of Pharmacy, Duluth Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences
232 Life Science
Duluth, MN 55812
United States


Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Doctoral Degree, University of North Carolina (Chemistry)

Masters Degree, University of North Carolina (Chemistry)

Bachelors Degree, Juniata College (Chemistry)

Additional Study, Philipps-Universität, Marburg Germany


Fellowship, Cornell University (Research Associate & NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry & Chemical Biology)

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Awards & Recognition

  • Young Alumni Achievement Award, Juniata College, 2006
  • NIH National Research Service Award, 10/1997-9/2000
  • Charles N. Reilley Graduate Fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina, 8/1991-5/1992
  • Juniata College Honor Society, 1991
  • Merck Index Chemistry Achievement Award, Department of Chemistry, Juniata College, 1991
  • DuPont Chemistry Achievement Award, Department of Chemistry, Juniata College, 1990

Professional Associations

  • Member, Membership Committee, 2006–present
  • Chair, Membership Committee, 2009–present
  • Member, Early Career Committee, 2006–2009
  • Member, Committee on Professional Opportunities for Women, 2001-2006
  • Member, 50th Anniversary Committee, 2005-2006
  • SPIE—The International Society for Optical Engineering
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
  • American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
  • Biophysical Society

Research Summary/Interests

Nanoscale dynamics of cell surface signaling:

Research in the Sheets Group focuses on understanding quantitatively how critical molecular events in a variety of essential membrane-involved processes control biological function. Specifically, we study immunoglobulin E (IgE) receptor signaling, which initiates the allergic response in mast cells. We are developing new quantitative tools, particularly those exploiting fluorescence, to probe spatial and temporal dynamics of the molecular interactions involved in immunoreceptor signaling. Our multidisciplinary laboratory uses state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy, optical trapping and nanotechnology to manipulate and interrogate single molecules in living cells and biomimetic systems. Questions we are investigating range from the physical chemistry of functional interfacial lipid-lipid and lipid-protein interactions to the initiation of signal transduction and exocytosis.


  • Piehowski P, Davey AM, Kurczy ME, Sheets ED, Winograd N, Ewing AG, Heien ML. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging of subcellular lipid heterogeneity: Poisson counting and spatial resolution. Anal Chem. 2009;81:5593-5602.
  • Kyoung M and Sheets ED. Vesicle diffusion close to a membrane: intermembrane interactions measured with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Biophys J. 2008;95:5789-5797.
  • Vats K, Kyoung M, Sheets ED. Characterizing the chemical complexity of patterned biomimetic membranes. Bioch Biophys Acta. 2008;1778:2461-2468.
  • An A, Kumar S, Sheets ED, Benkovic SJ. Reversible compartmentalization of de novo purine biosynthetic complexes in living cells. Science. 2008;320:103-106.
  • Davey AM, Krise KM, Sheets ED, Heikal AA. Molecular perspective of antigen-mediated mast cell signaling. J Biol Chem. 2008;283:7117-7127.
  • Butler PJ, Dong C, Snyder AJ, Jones AD, Sheets ED. Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Summer Institutes: meeting modern challenges in undergraduate summer research. CBE--Life Sciences Education. 2008;7:45–53.
  • Kyoung M, Karunwi K, Sheets ED. A versatile multi-mode microscope to probe and manipulate nanoparticles and biomolecules. J Microsc. 2007;225:137-146.
  • Davey AM, Liu Y, Walvick R, Heikal AA, Sheets ED. Membrane order and molecular dynamics associated with IgE receptor cross-linking in mast cells. Biophys J. 2007;92:343-355.
  • Kyoung M and Sheets ED. Manipulating and probing the spatio-temporal dynamics of nanoparticles near surfaces. Proceedings of SPIE. 2006;6326:63262L.
  • Holowka D, Sheets ED, Baird B. Interactions between FceRI and lipid raft components are regulated by the actin cytoskeleton. J Cell Sci. 2000;113:1009-1019.
  • Sheets ED, Holowka D, Baird B. Critical role for cholesterol in Lyn-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of FceRI and their association with detergent-resistant membranes. J Cell Biol. 1999;145:877-887.
  • Sheets ED, Lee GM, Simson R, Jacobson K. Transient confinement of a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein in the plasma membrane. Biochem. 1997;36:12449-12458.
  • Jacobson K, Sheets ED, Simson R. Revisiting the fluid mosaic model of membranes. Science. 1995;268:1441-1442.