Positions

Assistant Professor
Biochemistry-Sokac Lab
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US

Education

Advanced Training from Princeton University
Cell & Developmental Biology
Ph.D. from University Of Wisconsin, Madison
Cell & Developmental Biology
B.S. with Honors from Carnegie Mellon University
Biological Sciences

Honors & Awards

8-Stranded Beta Barrel Jelly Roll Award for Best Lecturer (2014-2015)
8-Stranded Beta Barrel Jelly Roll Award for Best Instructor (2015-2016)
Norton Rose Fulbright Excellence Award in Teaching and Evaluation
NIH's National Research Mentoring Network Master Facilitator of Mentor Training

Professional Interests

  • Development and Evolution
  • Biophysics and Computational Biology
  • Membrane Trafficking
  • Actin Cytoskeleton
  • Cytokinesis
  • Morphogenesis

Professional Statement

Cell shape is critical to cell function, and cells need to reliably change or maintain shape as circumstances demand. Our lab is studying several aspects of cell shape change in the developing Drosophila embryo. For example: 1) How are different sub-cellular processes, from nucleus to cell surface, integrated to accomplish cell shape change? 2) How are materials, like actin and membrane, moved around? 3) How do mechanics link and coordinate remote cell surface events? 4) What are the back-and-forth relationships between cell shape change and tissue morphogenesis? 5) What determines the kinetics of cell shape change? 6) What are the robustness promoting mechanisms that ensure reliable cell shape change, even under bad conditions?

We pursue this work because we are fascinated with how cells move and do their jobs. Since failed cell shape change precipitates disease and devastating health burdens, as in cancer and birth defects, our efforts can help in the development of future clinical interventions and prevention strategies.

Selected Publications

Memberships

American Society for Cell Biology
Society for Developmental Biology