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Featured videos

Video #1: Pulses of Rho-Kinase direct contraction pulses during morphogenesis

Pulses of Rho-Kinase direct contraction pulses during morphogenesisEmbryo expressing a Venus-tagged Rho-Kinase and Cherry-tagged myosin demonstrates that both myosin could be regulated by dynamic upstream signals. Video / Claudia Vasquez

Video #2: Rogues gallery

Rogues galleryMutants have differing affects on myosin organization in each cell, but most of these mutants disrupt pulsing behavior. Video / Claudia Vasquez

Research highlights

Research in Focus

Lab News

2017 lab News

Natalie Heer successfully defended her thesis!
Congratulations Dr. Heer | December 2017

Congratulations to graduate student, Natalie Heer, on giving an excellent research presentation and successfully defending her thesis. Best of luck at your new position as a Data Scientist.

Natalie Heer publishes Development review
Natalie publishes Development review | November 2017

Congratulations to graduate student, Natalie Heer, for publishing her review article "Tension, Contraction and Tissue Morphogenesis" in Development. Natalie contributed to the special issue celebrating the 100th anniversary of "On Growth and Form." Her review article describes the latest research explaining how forces are generated to sculpt tissues.

Graduate student, Marlis Denk-Lobnig, passed qualifying exam
Marlis Passed Qualifying Exam | October 2017

Congratulations to graduate student, Marlis Denk-Lobnig, on passing her qualifying exam.

Soline Chanet's paper is accepted by Current Biology
Soline's paper is accepted by Current Biology | September 2017

Congratulations to Soline on her paper being accepted by Current Biology. Soline discovered that mitotic cell rounding is critical to orient cell division in the plane of an epithelium.

Soline Chanet publishes Nature Communications paper
Soline publishes Nature Communications paper | May 2017

Congratulations to Soline on publishing her work "Actomyosin Meshwork Mechanosensing Enables Tissue Shape to Orient Cell Force" in Nature Communications. Soline discovered a mechanism by which tissue and organism shape can instruct cells how to generate force. This has implications in understanding how tissues and organs acquire their correct shape.

Soline Chanet's paper is accepted by Nature Communications paper
Soline's paper is accepted by Nature Communications | February 2017

Congratulations Soline on her paper being accepted by Nature Communications. Can’t wait to see the field’s reaction to this. And the inevitable Lord of the Rings puns.

Jonathon Coravos successfully defended his thesis!
Congratulations Dr. Coravos | February 2017

Jonathan Coravos gave an amazing seminar and successfully defended his thesis. Well done Jonathan! Have fun in Chile!

2016 lab News

Claudia Vasquez publishes eLife paper
Claudia Vasquez publishes eLife paper | December 2016

Congratulations Claudia on publishing her work "Drosophila Non-muscle Myosin II Motor Activity Determines the Rate of Tissue Folding" in eLife. Claudia demonstrated that myosin 2 motor activity sets the rate of apical constriction and tissue folding, showing that myosin 2 is the motor that drives these processes. This work was the result of a great collaboration with James Sellers’ lab at the National Institutes of Health.

Martin Lab wins Halloween group costume contest
Lab wins Halloween group costume contest | October 2016

The Martin lab won the coveted group costume competition for the Biology department Halloween party. They had a winning combination of fish-like pillows and various forms of wasabi.

Hannah Yevick awarded NIH F32 fellowship
Hannah Yevick awarded NIH F32 fellowship | July 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Hannah Yevick for being awarded a prestigious NIH fellowship.

Welcome biology student Marlis Denk-Lobnig
Welcome Marlis Denk-Lobnig | June 2016

Biology student Marlis Denk-Lobnig joins the lab. Marlis did her undergraduate work at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany. Marlis is interested in applying computational approaches to studying signaling networks in an embryo.

Adam Martin promoted to Associate Professor
Adam promoted to Associate Professor | February 2016

Adam has been promoted to Associate Professor, effective July 1, 2016.

2015 lab news

Jeanne Jodoin publishes Developmental Cell paper!
Jeanne publishes Developmental Cell paper | December 2015

Congratulations Jeanne, for publishing her work "Stable Force Balance between Epithelial Cells Arises from F-Actin Turnover" in Developmental Cell. Jeanne showed that stable force balance between cells in a tissue requires robust actin filament turnover. The paper was also highlighted by the journal. Read the paper and the highlight article.

Shicong (Mimi) Xie defended her thesis!
Congratulations Dr. Xie | December 2015

Mimi Xie successfully defended her thesis. She gave an excellent seminar to our community. Nice job Mimi!

Hannah Yevick wins Nano-K 2015 Thesis Prize!
Hannah Yevick Wins Nano-K 2015 Thesis Prize | October 2015

Congratulations Hannah Yevick, for winning the Nano-K 2015 Thesis Prize for interdisciplinary research. This is a national award in France for excellent PhD theses that cross disciplines.

Congratulations Dr. Vasquez
Congratulations Dr. Vasquez | September 2015

Claudia Vasquez successfully defended her thesis. She gave a stellar seminar to faculty, friends, and colleagues at MIT. Nice job!

Welcome postdoc Hannah Yevick!
Welcome Hannah Yevick | July 2015

Hannah received her Ph.D. from the Institut Curie in Paris, France. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Physics and she published a really cool paper on cells walking a “tightrope.” She is interested in collective cell behavior changing tissue shape.

Jeanne Jodoin received an F32 fellowship from the NIH
Jeanne Jodoin awarded NIH F32 Fellowship | June 2015

Congratulations to Jeanne Jodoin, who was awarded a prestigious NIH F32 postdoctoral fellowship.

Elena Kingston won a best poster prize at the 2015 Building 68 retreat
Elena Kingston wins poster prize | June 2015

Congratulations Elena Kingston on winning the best poster prize at the Building 68 retreat. We have won a poster prize each year for the past 3 years. Nice job Mimi, Claudia, and now Elena.

MIT Biology graduate student, Clint Ko, is joining our lab
Welcome Clint Ko | June 2015

Biology graduate student, Clint Ko, is joining our lab. Clint was an undergrad at Cornell University where he worked on plant development. We are happy he has turned to the fruit fly for his next system.

Shicong 'Mimi' Xie's publication in Nature Communications
Mimi Xie’s paper in Nature Communications | May 2015

Congratulations to graduate student, Mimi Xie, for her publication "Intracellular signalling and intercellular coupling coordinate heterogeneous contractile events to facilitate tissue folding” in Nature Communications. In the paper, Mimi showed that cells exhibit three classes of contractile events, unconstricting, unratcheted, and ratcheted. Mimi demonstrated that cells undergo transitions between different classes of contractions, going from unconstricting or unratcheted contractions to ratcheted contractions. A transcription factor that regulates this developmental stage is important for the proper order of contractile events. It is important for cells to generate ratcheted contractions because this promotes cooperation between cells.

Elena Kingston
Elena Kingston accepted to MIT Biology PhD program | April 2015

Congratulations Elena Kingston! Elena, our technical assistant, has decided to stay at MIT and complete her thesis. We are thrilled that you will still be around.

2014 lab news

Yujie Li
Welcome Yujie Li | October 2014

Yujie joins us from the University of Chicago where she completed her Ph.D. with David Kovar. For her graduate work, Yujie worked on developing in vitro assays for imaging molecular interactions with actin filaments.

Elena Kingston
Welcome Elena Kingston | June 2014

Elena, our new Technical Assistant, graduated from Swarthmore College in May 2014. Elena spent a summer doing research in David Stern's lab at Janelia Farm.

Jeanne Jodoin
Welcome Jeanne Jodoin | January 2014

Jeanne comes to us from Vanderbilt University where she received a Ph.D. for her work on the mechanisms of dynein motor localization.

2013 lab news

Jonathan Coravos
Jonathan Coravos Passed Qualifying Exam | October 2013

Congratulations to graduate student, Jonathan Coravos, on passing his qualifying exam.

Frank Mason's publication in Nature Cell Biology
Nature Cell Biology Paper | July 2013

Congratulations to postdoc, Frank Mason, for the recent publication of his paper, "Apical domain polarization promotes actin-myosin assembly to drive ratchet-like apical constriction on Nature Cell Biology." In the paper, Mason et al. show that the signals that regulate contractile forces in constricting cells exhibit a spatial organization within the apical domain of the cell. Signals that activate myosin motors are polarized to the center of the apical domain. Actin polymerization in this domain suppresses junctional protein localization, restricting junctional proteins to cell-cell interfaces. Thus, a “radial” cell polarity is established, which is shown to be important for apical constriction.

Natalie Heer
Welcome Natalie Heer | May 2013

Biology graduate student, Natalie Heer, joins the lab. Natalie received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University where she worked in the Reck-Peterson lab on dynein motility.

Shicong (Mimi) Xie
Mimi Xie Passed Qualifying Exam | April, 2013

Congratulations to graduate student, Mimi Xie, on passing her qualifying exam.

Claudia Vasquez
Claudia Vasquez Passed Qualifying Exam | January 2013

Congratulations to graduate student, Claudia Vasquez, on passing her qualifying exam.

2012 lab news

Soline Chanet
Soline Chanet awarded EMBO Long-Term Fellowship | December 2012

Congratulations to postdoc, Soline Chanet, for being awarded an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship