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UConn Health Richard D. Berlin
Center for Cell Analysis & Modeling

CCAM Cell Biology

Cytoskeletal Dynamics
Loew, Mayer, Rodionov

Actin and microtubule dynamics play an important role in vesicular transport, e.g. melanophores in xenopus melanocytes, and signaling transduction, nck signaling and macroscpoic cellular behaviors such as cell motility, crawling and shape. Cellular, molecular, and biochemical approaches are used to understand the mechanisms of self-organization of cytoplasmic microtubules in living cells, regulation of microtubule dynamics, and cellular control over the activity of microtubule-based molecular motors. Biophysical modeling, such as solid and fluid mechanics, coupled with cellular imaging are used to probe the physical and biochemical mechanisms by which cells move, grow, and maintain their shape.

RNA Trafficking

Research at CCAM has been at the forefront of utilizing advanced fluorescence imaging techniques to study RNA trafficking in cells. Research focuses on intracellular RNA trafficking in neural cells investigated through a combination of quantitative live cell imaging, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, and mathematical modeling. Such studies have identified RNA granules- a RNA trafficking intermediate- and characterized spatial transriptional and translational regulation of RNAs localized to granules.

Signal Transduction
Blinov, Mayer

Signal transduction pathways involve a complex series of molecular interactions in which cells transform events that occur at the cell surface into finely tuned signals for cell motility, division, or differentiation. Researchers at CCAM focus on detailed mechanistic modeling of EGFR signal transduction networks in single cells. A specific focus is the role of small adaptor proteins, Nck, in coupling signals from outside the cell to local rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton, and identification of protein motifs integral to protein-protein interactions. Research in these areas stimulates advances in computational methods for studying signaling events and networks.

Cellular Tissues and Development

Cellular adhesion and fusion are critical mechanisms to the formation of tissues during development. Genetics and new optical methods are being used to study cell fusion and tissue formation in C. elegans and tissue properties of mammalian ovaries. Live imaging combined with genetic and nano-fabrication manipulations are powerful tools for delineating the mechanical and cellular behaviors associated with normal tissue development and cancers.

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