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Steven Walker

Department: Chemical & Physical Biology

Faculty Mentor: Adrian Olivares, Ph.D.

Dissertation DescriptionDemonstrating the mechanism of mechanical force in nuclear signaling

In the Olivares lab, we use single molecule optical trapping and complementary biochemical techniques to study how mechanical forces impact various aspects of nuclear signaling. The proteins responsible for this carrying mechanical signals through the nuclear envelope are the linkers of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex. This complex comprises two protein families: SUN domain proteins and KASH-peptide proteins. While it is hypothesized that SUN-KASH interactions transduce force from the cell membrane into the nucleus, the molecular basis for this interaction has yet to be shown. Therefore, I plan to use optical tweezers to show the mechanism of this force transduction and the necessary components to achieve signal transduction.