Modern molecular biology presents us with a growing list of molecules that build a living cell. However, how the diverse activities of these molecules are coordinated in space and time to generate functional and dynamic cell biology is an increasingly complex and essentially unresolved question. Intracellular dynamics are coordinated by the cytoskeleton, and we are interested in how microtubules, a highly dynamic filament system inside eukaryotic cells, control cell behavior and morphogenesis in human tissue culture models, such as cancer and hiPSC-derived neurons by using advanced microscopy, optogenetics and microfabrication.
In ongoing projects, we ask how Doublecortin, a microtubule-associated protein frequently mutated in neurodevelopmental cortical malformations, and related proteins control microtubule function in developing neurons. We also develop optogenetic tools to control intracellular protein activities with high spatial and temporal accuracy aiming to guide cell division and neuronal development to engineer synthetic neuron network modules, and we develop microscopy to better visualize cancer and neuronal cell dynamics in physiological 3D environments.
June 15, 2018 - February 28, 2023 - Probing Microtubule Function in Neuronal Development , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01NS107480
September 20, 2020 - September 19, 2021 - Wide-field super-resolution spinning disk confocal microscope , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: S10OD028611
June 10, 2017 - May 31, 2020 - Dissecting protein activities by reversible photo-inactivation , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R21CA224194
May 1, 2008 - December 31, 2017 - Microtubule dynamics during cell polarity and migration , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01GM079139