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 cell biology is an increasingly complex and essentially unresolved question. My research program focuses on the microtubule cytoskeleton, a highly dynamic filament system inside cells that is critically important to spatially and temporally organize eukaryotic cells during cell migration, division and differentiation. One of my long-term scientific goals is to elucidate molecular mechanisms by which local control of the MT cytoskeleton guides complex cell behaviors, and we are particularly interested in the function of protein complexes at growing microtubule ends. Addressing questions on local dynamic processes in cells also requires novel experimental approaches, and to achieve this goal we are employing advanced quantitative live cell microscopy combined with ‘opto-cell biology’ that we define as synthetic light-control of cellular protein activity with high spatial and temporal precision.
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