Ronald Thurman Distinguished Professor
Director, UNC-Olympus Imaging Center
Fellow, American Association for the
- Spatio-temporal dynamics of signaling networks in metastasis and immune cell interactions
- Molecules for imaging and manipulation of protein activity in living cells and animals
Our lab focuses on two synergistic areas: development of proteins and small molecules to visualize and control protein activity in live cells and animals, and applying these tools to address basic questions re spatio-temporal control of signaling. Our biological studies center on the role of cytoskeletal and adhesion dynamics in signaling crosstalk, directed motility, and the role of immune cells in disease. We are extending our cell biology studies to examine metastasis and macrophage motility in 3D models and in vivo.
While addressing specific molecules for our biological studies, we have produced generally applicable approaches to visualize and control signaling. These include new fluorescent biosensor designs to quantify conformational changes of endogenous proteins, and biosensors based on engineered protein scaffolds for otherwise inaccessible molecules. We are developing fluorescent dyes for single molecule microscopy of protein conformational changes in vivo, and engineered domains that can be inserted into target proteins to control protein function using either light or small molecules. Other new methods selectively activate specific protein behaviors.
We greatly benefit from interactions with collaborators who focus on computational image analysis, modeling of signaling dynamics, and developing novel microscopes.
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