Our lab is interested in the role of contractile systems in cellular function. We are particularly interested in the role of myosin II, as it is the molecular motor responsible for generating contractile force. Myosin II-contractility is involved in a whole host of cellular functions required for proper organismal development, including cytokinesis, cell movement, cell shape, and muscle development.
We are primarily focused on two areas- 1) We are studying the mechanisms underlying how myosin II-filaments assemble on the nano-scale inside of cells, and how these mechanisms contribute to the proper development of muscle sarcomeres. 2) We are also investigating the nature of the force balance between contraction and adhesion that allows a cell to move on surfaces with physiologically relevant geometries.
Our studies typically require higher optical resolutions than conventional light microscopy techniques provide. Therefore, our lab employs a variety of advanced super-resolution microscopy including structured illumination microscopy (SIM), photo-activated localization microscopy (PALM), and scanning angle interference microscopy (SAIM).