Ke Xu, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Department of Chemistry
Institution
University of California, Berkeley
Address
478 Stanley Hall
City, State, Zip
Berkeley, CA 94720
Phone
(510) 666-2784
E-mail
xuk[at]berkeley.edu
Website
http://chem.berkeley.edu/faculty/kxu/index.php
Research Field
Cell biology
Award Year
2015

Research

My research uses sophisticated, super-resolution microscopy and single-molecule techniques to probe how a cell's "skeleton," known as its cytoskeleton, organizes its interior and determines its shape. Cells are highly organized structures buttressed by an ordered array of supports that crisscross the cell interior, connecting various subcellular organelles and carrying out key functions. Although these molecular girders and cables are plentiful, they can be difficult to see because they are so thin and often entangled with each other. As a postdoctoral fellow, I developed a technique for visualizing the components of this cytoskeleton. I will now follow up on some intriguing preliminary observations. First, I will explore how the cell's organelles are related to this mesh of fibers that supports the underside of the cell membrane. Next, I will examine the structure of the supports and assess their role in cell growth and division. This work will lead to a deeper understanding of cytoskeletal structure and function and could spur the development of drugs that eradicate cancers by interfering with their cytoskeletal organization.