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Ariana Tkachuk

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I have a B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan where I worked in the lab of Steven R. Meshnick in the School of Public Health, studying Malaria and immunology in pregnancy, and fell in love with molecular biology. I continued my training after graduating in the lab of Maurine R Hobbs at the University of Utah School of Medicine, studying associations between host genetics and severe malaria, where I enhanced my appreciation for the necessity of good, basic biological research. 

I worked for David A. Clayton for 12+ years, adapting molecular methods to study mtDNA structure and organization with emerging superresolution microscopy techniques. Historically, the lab studied mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication, transcription, and organization. We used superresolution fluorescence microscopy techniques (PALM, iPALM) to image mitochondrial nucleoids to better understand the organization and function of this large nucleo-protein structure. We were most interested in these fundamental questions concerning mitochondrial nucleoid structure, composition, position and protein interaction in vivo. The high spatial resolution provided by PALM provides a unique opportunity in this regard, since the small physical dimensions and extensive compartmentalization of the mitochondria have previously impeded such an analysis. 

Since David's retirement, I've worked for and with Luke L. Lavis, first on the Fluorophore Attachment Strategy Team (FAST) and currently, under Timothy A. Brown on the Tool Translation Team (T3), where we develop new molecular tools including fluorescent dyes and protein-based sensors to observe biological processes using advanced imaging systems.