Research & Publications
My scientific career has largely focused on developing an atomic-level understanding of a model cytoskeletal system, the kinesin molecular motor which transports cargo along microtubules. While my Ph.D. work emphasized X-ray crystallography and EPR spin-labeling techniques as applied to the kinesin system, my more recent work has turned towards advancing cryo-electron microscopy techniques to the point where atomic-level features can be obtained for systems such as cytoskeletal filaments. These efforts led to my recent synthesis, using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and X-ray crystallography information, of an atomic-level model for kinesin’s ATP-sensing machinery in its active form, which is only assumed following microtubule attachment. This discovery led to a simple and intuitive “seesaw” mechanism describing how ATP binding leads to force generation in the microtubule-attached motor. My laboratory's research interests are rapidly expanding to include numerous other filament-related molecular machines, such the myosin molecular motor that powers muscle movement, and the fascinating endoflagellum that spirochete bacteria to convert their bodies into pathogenic 'drilling machines'.
Education & Training
- PhDUniversity of California at San Francisco (2002)
- BSMassachusetts Institute of Technology (1992)