Alexis Lomakin, PH.D.
|Title||Research Fellow in Cell Biology (INT)|
|Institution||Harvard Medical School|
|Address||Harvard Medical School|
240 Longwood Ave
Boston MA 02115
2001||The George Soros Foundation Scholar|
2001||UNESCO Natural Sciences Student Prize, Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB)|
2005||The Weizmann Institute of Science's annual Kupcinet-Getz International Science School Scholar |
2005||The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin Award for Academic Excellence|
2005||The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research International Program Funding, Participant|
2009||The Fogarty International Research Collaboration Award (FIRCA) Program, Participant|
2015||The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Fellow, Career Development Program|
2012||The American Society for Cell Biology Postdoctoral Award|
Topic: Translating Morphodynamic Signatures of the Cytoskeleton into Large-Scale Cell Organization and Motility
One of the things that I’ve always found most fascinating and really most puzzling about biological cells is their ability to take structural information that is originally encoded at the level of individual proteins and somehow leverage that structural information to build very large objects, large organized structures that can extend throughout the entire size of the cell, many orders of magnitude larger than the individual proteins that make them up. As a particular example of this, I’d like for you to consider my favorite proteins, which are the cytoskeletal proteins, called actin and tubulin. The cytoskeletal proteins serve as building blocks in creating the dynamic cellular architecture that defines functional shape of the cell and enables such fundamental physiological processes as cell motility and cell division. This is why actin filaments and microtubules, assembled from the cytoskeletal proteins, have been extensively studied by biochemists, structural biologists, and microscopists. However, the underlying mechanisms by which the cytoskeletal elements are cooperatively organized and remodeled into specific cellular architectures, which are then conveyed over large scales into observable cell morphologies, remain unclear.
My global objective is to uncover a universal, evolutionary conserved mechanism for how the large-scale cell organization and motility is emerged from a combinatorial interplay among actin filaments and microtubules.
As a cell biologist, I work in an extremely organic manner, combining digital light microscopy, modern genetic and combinatorial chemistry tools, quantitative imaging and biochemical analyses, high performance computing and mathematical modeling.
The ability to work in all those different vocabularies has been offered to me when I joined the Danuser lab of Harvard University. In the lab we maintain an active dialog between research fellows with expertise in computer science, physics, chemistry, and different areas of biology.
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