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The brain is comprised of many cellular players – neurons, astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes – which together orchestrate the organ’s complex behaviors. We want to understand how these cells operate individually, and interdependently, to allow the brain to develop, remodel, heal, and compute.
The lab’s goal is to understand the interplay of membrane-bound organelles, cytoskeletal structure, and metabolism as it relates to the organization and function of neurons, and the cells they interact with. On a small scale, we are interested in mapping out the spatial organization, stoichiometry, and dynamics of proteins as they interact with each other and with different parts of the cell. On a larger scale, we are trying to decipher how complex cellular behaviors arise, including cell crawling, polarization, cell-cell contact, cytokinesis, cell fate determination, viral budding, and intercellular transfer.
To study these problems, we rely heavily on microscopy – including super-resolution imaging techniques and cutting edge fluorescence-based technologies – as well as biochemistry, in vitro reconstitution, and mathematical modeling.