Our lab focuses on two synergistic areas: developing molecular tools to visualize and control signaling in living cells, and questions re the specialized cell biology of blood cells. Our biological studies center on clinically important cell behaviors -- phagocytosis, platelet production, and T cell interactions. We also try to uncover basic signaling principles using cell protrusion as a model of chemical-mechanical interactions in signaling networks. We have begun studies of the cancer microenvironment in 3D models and in vivo.
Our molecular imaging tools are focused on specific molecules for our biological studies, but we aim to produce broadly applicable approaches that others can use to visualize and control protein behavior. These include new biosensor designs that minimally perturb signaling, enabling us to examine low abundance proteins and to control and visualize multiple proteins simultaneously. We are developing means to control endogenous proteins with light, and studying allosteric networks to produce engineered domains that can be inserted into proteins where they confer control by light or small molecules. By precisely producing and visualizing localized transients in protein activity, we examine how spatio-temporal dynamics control cell decision making.
We are grateful to be working closely with outstanding collaborators who focus on computational image analysis, modeling signaling dynamics, and developing novel microscopes. In many cases, students and postdoctoral fellows work in collaborative projects between laboratories.
Ongoing research directions in our laboratory:
Engineering proteins to confer regulation by light or by small molecules.
Examining the spatio-temporal dynamics and regulation of Rho family GTPase signaling pathways.
Novel dyes to illuminate cell biology and protein behaviors.
Quantitative microscopy and analysis of signaling circuits / systems biology.
Thanks to our collaborators!
- Bergmeier Lab, UNC
- Betzig Lab, Janelia Research Institute
- Burridge Lab, UNC
- Leong Chew, Advanced Imaging Center, Janelia Research Institute
- Condeelis Lab, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Danuser Lab, UTSW
- Dokholyan Lab, UNC
- Elston Lab, UNC
- Ginsberg Lab, UCSD
- Gomez Lab, UNC
- Gratton Lab, NIH Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics, UC-Irvine
- Grinstein Lab, U. Toronto
- Hanein Lab, Burnham
- Huttenlocher Lab, U. Wisconsin
- Jacobson Lab, UNC
- Jirik Lab, U. Calgary
- Kasai Lab, U. Tokyo
- Keely Lab, U. Wisconsin
- Kubes Lab, U. Calgary
- Kuhlman Lab, UNC
- Kevin Eliceri at LOCI, U. Wisconsin
- Nain Lab, Va. Tech
- Rottapel Lab, U. Toronto
- Sondek Lab, UNC
- Superfine Lab, NIH Center for Computer Integrated Systems for Microscopy and Manipulation, UNC
- Tsygankov Lab, Georgia Tech and Emory
- Volkmann Lab, Burnham
Thanks to the following organizations, and to the US and NC taxpayers, for their support: