Morgan DeSantis

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Developmental Biology

Research Interests

Our research is focused on understanding how microtubule-associated motor proteins work. These fascinating proteins transport all kinds of cellular cargo including organelles, mRNA, viruses, and protein aggregates. Because the interior of cells is so crowded, diffusion is an unreliable mechanism for cargo movement. Motor proteins overcome the diffusion barrier by coupling ATP hydrolysis with force-generating movement that drives the motors to walk along microtubules, transporting bound cargo with them as they walk. The entire process is highly regulated and essential, evidenced by the fact that a number of human diseases are caused by or associated with impaired motor protein function. Our lab aims to understand how motor proteins assemble, how they function, and the mechanisms of regulation that dictate how and when they interact with cargos.