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molecule-based and unbiased genetic/proteomic approaches to understanding cell migration and other aspects of actin-based motility

UNC-Chapel Hill

Education and Training

Davidson College, BS
Emory University, PhD
MIT, Postdoc

Areas of Interest

The Bear lab studies actin cytoskeletal dynamics, cell motility and tumor invasion/metastasis. We use a combination of modern molecular perturbations such as gene knockouts, over-expression and RNAi depletion to manipulate proteins involved in migration. In addition, we are studying how tumor cells mis-regulate their cell motility during invasion and metastasis. One of the main techniques utilized by the lab is live-cell microscopy. We use this technique across a range of length and time-scales to track proteins and protein complexes inside of cells, track the migration of cells and understand the consequences of migration for tissue architecture. We are also exploiting new micro-fabarication and microfluidic approaches to study the migration cells in response to gradients of various cues such as soluble growth factors (chemotaxis), substrate attached ECM proteins (haptotaxis) and gradients of mechanical stiffness (durotaxis).

Awards and Honors:

1993: Phi Beta Kappa, Davidson College chapter
1997: ASCB Predoctoral Travel Award
1999-2000: Anna Fuller Molecular Oncology Fellow
2000: NIH NRSA Award
2001-04: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Special Fellow
2004-06: V Scholar Award
2005-07: Melanoma Research Foundation Junior Faculty Award
2006-09: Sontag Foundation, Distinguished Scientist Award
2008-12: Research Scholar Award, American Cancer Society
2008-13: Jefferson-Pilot Award
2009-12: Faculty of 1000
2010: Ruth and Phillip Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement
2015: Omicron Delta Kappa, Honoris Causa, Davidson College circle


UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Department of Pharmacology

  • Phone Number

    919-966-5471 (Office Phone)

  • Address

    21-223 Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

    Campus Box 7295

    Chapel Hill, NC 2759-7295