Cytoskeletal motor proteins generate mechanical forces, which drive numerous cellular processes that are essential for life. Research in our laboratory is focused on elucidating the function of the actin cytoskeleton and its associated myosin motor proteins. The context for our studies is the ‘brush border’: an array of actin-based protrusions known as microvilli, which extend from the surface of polarized epithelial cells. In the gut, the brush border serves as the sole site of nutrient absorption and a barrier to micro-organisms that reside in the lumenal space. Using an approach that combines biophysics, biochemistry, and cell biology, we are currently studying mechanisms that control microvillar dynamics, morphology, and function. We have also begun to dissect the mechanism of microvillar assembly, which was jumpstarted by our recent elucidation of the entire brush border proteome. A broad long-term goal is to develop our understanding of molecules and pathways that may be perturbed in GI diseases characterized by loss of the brush border (e.g. enteropathogenic E. coli infection, celiac disease, and microvillus inclusion disease).
6/1/13 - Our newest student, Meredith Weck, was awarded a slot on the Program in Developmental Biology Training grant!
5/28/13 - David Shifrin earns his Ph.D. Nice work Dr. Shifrin!
4/2/13 - Jessi Mazerik earns her Ph.D. Well done Dr. Mazerik!
2/27/13 - Tyska and Coffey laboratories collaborate on a review of exosome biology now in press at MBoC. Click here to take a look.
8/20/12 - Graduate student Nathan Grega Larson passes his qualifying exam - well done Nathan!
2/23/12 - Graduate student Jessica Mazerik has a paper accepted in the JBC and also gets the cover image!
2/8/12 - Graduate student David Shifrin has his first paper (and second cover image) accepted at Current Biology.
12/26/11 - Recent graduate, Dr. Andrew Benesh, has his second paper go into press at Brain Research. He also scored the cover image!