Eukaryotic Cytoskeleton In Cell Division
Cell division is a highly regulated process requiring the interplay of physical and chemical cues. The cytoskeleton is a central player, serving as energy source for dramatic movements requiring complex mechano-chemistry, as well as acting as a scaffold that facilitates molecular encounters at the right time and place within the cell. We study two cytoskeletal systems, microtubules (MTs) and septin filaments, that play critical roles in mitosis and cytokinesis, respectively. Importantly, their self-assembly and interactions can serve both as input or readout in checkpoint processes that regulate critical and often irreversible steps in cell division progression.
Structural Basis of Microtubule Dynamic Instability
In our microtubule cytoskeleton studies we are interested in defining the conformational landscape of tubulin as defined by its nucleotide and assembly states, in order to obtain detail mechanistic understanding of the process of microtubule dynamic instability ... read more
In the cell the dynamics of microtubules are regulated and made use of by their interaction with different factors. Of special interest is the coupling of microtubules to the kinetochore, a process where microtubule dynamics reaches its "climax". We pursue a mechanistic understanding of the molecular interactions governing the regulated, dynamic attachment of kinetochores to microtubules that underlies the accurate segregation of chromosomes during mitosis ... read more
Septins Structure And Assembly
Septins are conserved GTases defining a new type of cytoskeletal filaments essential in cytokinesis and other membrane-remodeling processes. We are studying the yeast septins to define the organization of different septin assembly units, their polymerization and their regulation ... read more
Vignesh Kasinath received the Saul A. Winegrad Outstanding Dissertation Award from UPenn. The award is given to one person in every department every year for the best dissertation. He received the award for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Department of which he was a graduate student in.
Jack Kornfeld received the Molecular and Cell Biology Departmental Citation, the highest honor given to a graduating senior in MCB.
Eva Nogales was announced as the receipient of the 2015 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award. This award is sponsored by Genentech, and granted in recognition of exceptional contributions in protein science which profoundly influence our understanding of biology.