Erika Holzbaur, Ph.D., is the William Maul Measey Professor In Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds further graduate group appointments in the departments of Cell And Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
The Holzbaur lab is focused on the microtubule-based motor cytoplasmic dynein and its activator dynactin. Dynein and dynactin are required for vesicular trafficking, microtubule organization, mitotic spindle assembly, and development of polarity. The Holzbaur team is interested in the mechanisms of force production and motor function, mechanisms of cargo coupling and regulation, effects of dynein and dynactin on dynamics of the cytoskeleton, and the analysis of neurodegenerative diseases resulting from impairments in dynein/dynactin function. Disruptions in dynein/dynactin function cause motor neuron degeneration and muscle atrophy, leading to motor neuron diseases similar to ALS. Approaches in the lab include in vitro motility assays for motors, microtubules and organelles, biochemical and cellular assays for binding partners, live cell microscopy, and development and characterization of transgenic mouse models for motor neuron disease.
Key words: microtubule-based motility; dynein; cytoplasmic dynein; dynactin; microtubule motors; microtubules; microtubule dynamics; EB1; mechanobiology
Working Group(s): Working Group 1: How do cells sense their mechanical environment?