Amy Gladfelter

gladfelter_amy-4Who Am I?

I am cell biologist who studies how cells are spatially organized, change shape and divide. In addition to being an MBL fellow, I am an Associate Professor of Biology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I run a research lab and teach. My work spans multiple disciplines so I am active in many societies and their journals including the American Society of Cell Biology, the Genetic Society of America and the Biophysical Society.

What do I do?

We are interested in the fundamental organization of cells and our work is part of a long tradition of basic cell biological discovery at the MBL. We combine cutting edge imaging of live cells with biochemical reconstitution experiments putting our work at the interface of biophysics, modeling and genetics. We are interested in questions such as: How do cells know their shape? How do cells divide? How do cells build structures of specific sizes and shapes? How do the physical properties of molecules lead to specific functions?

Why do I come to the MBL?

There are many reasons I am drawn to the MBL. One strong pull is the fact that it is a center of advancement in microscopy development. I have a long-standing collaboration with Rudolf Oldenbourg and Tomomi Tani in applying and developing new polarized light microscopy approaches. These technologies allow us to detect not only the position of molecules in the cell but also their arrangement or order. I also have worked with microscopy developers Hari Shroff and Sara Abrahammson helping beta-test new instruments with our biological samples. A major reason I come to the MBL is to take experimental risks and interact with a wide array of scientists through chance encounters on the steps of Lillie or in Swope. My work is fertilized and empowered by the combination of technology and people that comingle in Woods Hole.

What do I plan to do/work on at the MBL?
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I have several directions I am taking currently with my work at MBL. I continue to participate in the HHMI-sponsored summer institute which supports a collaborative team focused on understanding a newly described mode of cell compartmentalization. In addition to continuing my work with Oldenbourg and Tani, I will be working with light-sheet microscope developers Paul Maddox and Philippe Laissue. Finally, along with Christine Field, a Whitman investigator from Harvard Medical School, I recently began collecting fungi from the marine environment around MBL. Our goal is to identify new marine fungal systems for cell biology and begin to understand the role of fungi in plankton dynamics.