Welcome to the Michael Vershinin Lab
My lab is interested in how novel functions and complexity arise from simpler molecular components. Our key environment/system of interest is microtubule-based motility. The fundamental units of this system, the basis for moving things around in cells are molecular motors. Indeed, given a "road" to move on and a cargo to move, a single tiny nano-machine will happily blindly move its load ahead. Blindly is the key word here.
These nano-machines, small and sophisticated though they are, do not inherently "know" what to move and where and when to move it. Cells clearly must have many ways to tell motors what to do. And some of this regulatory machinery is coming into view as our knowledge of the cellular environment improves. It is this emergent complexity that my group aims to rationalize and quantify (not necessarily in that order :).
The need to understand how things move on the tiniest scale is enormous. Transport is one of the key enabling technologies in cells; much like it is at higher levels of organized life, e.g. on the scale of cities and entire countries. Stop the buses, the trains, the planes, and the cars and our society would pretty much come to a halt. The same is true inside of cells. Not only is transporting things around crucial for normal cell functioning but problems with transport rear their ugly head in many diseases, like various dementias (Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and others), developmental diseases like Lissencephaly, and many others.
Transport is also crucial to how cells interact with the surrounding environment. Such interactions can also be for the better and for the worse. For instance, viruses invading cells typically hijack transport machinery to get around. In short, transport is certainly not everything but it somehow very often ends up in the middle of everything. And so as we understand more about how transport works, we will hopefully keep getting more insight into how things generally work in cells. More...
As a group operating at the interface of biology, physics, math, engineering, and chemistry we have a lot of interests and a few cool toys to play with (from the microscopy equipment we are building to the software we are developing). We are just starting out, so inquiries at all levels and from a wide range of backgrounds are welcome. More...
vershinin at physics dot utah dot edu
James Fletcher Bldg
115 S 1400 E Rm 307