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Dr Isabel Palacios

Abstract:

A biophysical study on how the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons dynamically collaborate to regulate cellular organization. We are investigating the relation between the fluid mechanical properties of the cytoplasm and the asymmetries in the oocyte. In collaboration with physicist Prof. Goldstein, we have a unique approach that combines interdisciplinary experimental and theoretical parameters in order to answer these questions (Ganguly et al., PNAS 2012). A physicist has also recently joined the Palacios lab. In the oocyte, as the developmental determinants are being asymmetrically localised, motor proteins also induce the vigorous movement of the cytoplasm, known as cytoplasmic streaming. Streaming was discovered in 1774, but many fundamental questions have remained unanswered: How does the fluid motion arise? What is the relationship between the oocyte asymmetries and the underlying forces of the flows? We have engaged in an experimental and theoretical study of fluid dynamical and transport issues, using techniques from microfluidics to functional genetics.   We are currently extending our previous work with a comprehensive study on how the actin and microtubule(MT) cytoskeletons collaborate to regulate cellular reorganization in the oocyte, including flows and asymmetries. An interplay between the actin and MTs is essential for fundamental processes such as cell migration and cell division. These studies on migrating and dividing cells have concentrated in understanding these systems from a molecular, but not from a biophysical, point of view. Also, not much is known about the interplay between actin and MTs in immobile and interphase cells. We are studying the physical properties of this interplay in the oocyte, and its impact on flows and polarity.

Dr Isabel Palacios

Dr Isabel Palacios
Department of Zoology
Office Phone: 01223 767837