How do cells perform highly dynamic processes like cell migration and cell division? The cytoskeleton not only provides the structural framework for the cell but also dynamically rearranges to produce the force to drive cell migration and cell division. This course will focus on gaining an in-depth understanding of the proteins and molecular mechanisms that underlie cytoskeletal dynamics including the cytoskeletal elements (F-actin, microtubules, and intermediate filaments), molecular motor proteins, and Rho GTPases, as well as how these proteins integrate to regulate cell migration, cell adhesion, and cell division. Additionally, we will focus on how misregulation of these processes leads to developmental defects and cancer.
Textbook: None — reading assignments will come from the primary literature and will be made available on CTools.
Students will be evaluated based on quizzes on the assigned reading material, active participation in discussions about scientific journal articles, and writing and presenting a research proposal.
The course is intended primarily for upper level undergraduates in biology concentrations, as well as first-year graduate students.
Suggested Prerequisites: BIOLOGY 305; and one of: MCDB 310 or BIOLCHEM 415 or CHEM 351.
The class will have two ninety minute meetings weekly. There will be a mixture of interactive lectures to introduce new topics and sessions where we discuss articles from scientific journals. The goal is not only for students to learn about the cytoskeleton but also to develop skills in critically reading and evaluating scientific literature.