Research

We ask questions regarding how the sequence and structure of biomacromolecules determines their functions, locations, and interactions within and between cells. Toward this goal, we develop cell biology tools to probe and program how cells and neurons communicate with one another. These resources are shared openly and freely with the research community via AddGene.

Trainees in our lab engage in an open and collaborative research environment and group members gain experience in cell biology, protein engineering/biophysics, & advanced imaging techniques.

Our current projects can be categorized into the following synergistic themes: 

Molecular Mechanobiology

how do pyhsical forces influence protein & cell functions?

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Cells sense and respond to mechanical signals, but the molecular details of mechanotransduction pathways have remained enigmatic. In current work, we are using protein engineering to probe and program how mechanical forces are sensed and interpreted by mammalian cells.

4D Regulation of the Central Dogma

when and where are proteins made, modified, and degraded?

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A complementary goal of the lab is to understand how cellular sub-compartments are formed, maintained, and regulated in living systems. How are molecules delivered to these subcellular locales? and how are these compartments changed in response to cellular and neuronal signaling events?  In particular, we are interested in the mechanisms and molecular sorting signals that allow cells to traffic mRNAs and protein complexes to junctional interfaces.

Making and Breaking Proteins:

chemogenetic tools for visualizing and controlling protein functions.