Department of Physics, Willamette University
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Force generation is critical for diverse cellular processes including transcription, translation, mitosis, cytokinesis, cell differentiation, and cell migration. Common to biological processes such as these is the inter-conversion of chemical and mechanical energy (i.e. they are mechanochemical processes). Our understanding of mechanochemical processes has benefited greatly from studies of molecular motor proteins, proteins that use chemical energy to perform work. Myosins are a superfamily of molecular motors that use ATP hydrolysis to create directed motion upon interaction with the filamentous protein actin. Research in our lab focuses on understanding how myosins function both individually and in their complex, cellular environments.