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Investigating the dynamic and mechanical properties of microtubule bundles

Primary Investigators:
Marija Zanic
 
Brief Description of Project:
Microtubules are dynamic biological polymers essential for cell division, cell motility and neuronal development. The molecular mechanisms underlying microtubule dynamics in cells, and how bundling microtubules into higher order structures influence their dynamics and mechanics are largely unknown. Our lab uses biochemical reconstitution approaches to manipulate and study microtubules outside of cells. This project will use high-resolution total-internal-reflection microscopy combined with micropatterning and microfluidics techniques to study the mechanical and dynamic properties of microtubule bundles.

Desired Qualifications:
Basic knowledge of physics and engineering. Ability to collect and analyze data. Some programming experience is necessary, Matlab experience a plus.
 
Nature of Supervision:
The student will work with Marija Zanic and the members of the Zanic lab. Training and daily supervision will be provided by a postdoc. Additionally, the student will have a dedicated hour-long weekly meeting with the PI, Marija Zanic, PhD to provide mentoring and continuous support.
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Week 1: training in experimental techniques
Week 2: data collection, training in image analysis
Week 3: data collection, image analysis, training in data analysis
Weeks 4 - 8: data collection, image and data analysis
Week 9: finalize data analysis
Week 10: final report
Throughout the 10-week period, the student will present on research findings and progress on a weekly basis in Zanic lab meetings, and will actively participate in weekly journal clubs. 

Number of Open Slots: 1
 
Contact Information:
Name: Marija Zanic
Department: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Email: marija.zanic@vanderbilt.edu