Erkan Tüzel, Associate Professor of Physics, was awarded an NIH R01 grant entitled "Multimotor Mechanisms in Microtubule-based Transport" in the amount of $611K. The award will support their collaborative work with Dr. Hancock at Penn State University (total award amount $2.1 million).
In neurons and other cells, intracellular cargos are transported along microtubule tracks by the competing activities of kinesin and dynein molecular motors, but the mechanical and chemical mechanisms underlying the net directionality of transport are not well understood. Under this award, Dr. Tüzel and his colleagues will use in vitro reconstructions of motor-functionalized cargo, high resolution particle tracking, and computational modeling to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying bidirectional transport along microtubules. Because defects in axonal transport are linked to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, this work will help us to better understand the molecular basis of human neurodegenerative diseases.