Revealing actin organization in liposomes (MEP)
What and Why
The actin cortex is a complex machinery of filamentous proteins which sits adjacent to the plasma membrane of all animal cells. This machinery stabilizes the cell mechanically, but also mediates cell division and migration. For all of these tasks, the microstructure within cortex is highly important, as it determines the mechanical properties and dynamics of the cortex. However, it is often difficult to observe this structure using standard fluorescence imaging techniques.
In this project you will develop an experimental assay to visualize cortical actin structures and dynamics in liposomes. You will reconstitute actin cortices in vesicles using the continuous droplets interface crossing encapsulation (cDICE) method. You will build a toolbox of methods for high-resolution imaging of such cortices, including partial vesicle adsorption to surfaces and TIRF imaging, or vesicle immobilization and confocal microscopy. Outside the laboratory, you will develop quantitative image analysis tools to analyze your experimental data.
In our group, we bring together different interests to study fundamental cellular processes like cell division using bottom-up reconstitution approaches. This project intersects with many of our ongoing experimental efforts, so we encourage you to collaborate within the group and develop your own experimental focus.
The project is open to anyone with a background in nanobiology, physics, biology, or similar.