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Cilia are hair-like protrusions of the plasma membrane, which are supported by a microtubule-based structure called the axoneme. Cilia are present on the surface of nearly all cells in the human body and play important roles during development and adult physiology. Motile cilia perform beating motions that can generate fluid flow over tissues or propel cells forward during cell motility. Non-motile cilia (also called primary or sensory cilia) act as signal-receiving antenna of the cell. In a tissue-specific manner, these organelles sense extracellular signals as diverse as morphogens, fluid flow, odorants, and light. Understanding how cilia function and how they are assembled and maintained is important, because cilium malfunction has been linked to a large collection of diseases known as ciliopathies, with symptoms including skeletal malformations, cystic organs, left-right asymmetry, and obesity.

Project 1

Delineate the mechanisms of cilium disassembly in response to external and internal cues.

Illustration of project 1

Project 2

Determine the mechanism of kinesin-2 autoinhibition

Illustration of project 2

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