A talented MBSB student, Kirill Lavrenyuk, published his first-author review, “Imaging methods in mechanosensing: a historical perspective and visions for the future,” Mol Biol Cell. 2021, 32(9):842-854. (doi: 10.1091/mbc.E20-10-0671). In this work, he discusses the recent history of mechanobiology over the past 25 years and highlights the emerging technologies and theories that are driving the field forward. To fully understand the mechanical nature of biological systems, recent technologies have pushed the limit of what is observable, from protein-protein interactions, to cell-cell, and even whole tissue mechanics.

In another recent work, “A single stiffened nucleus alters cell dynamics and coherence in a monolayer”, Cytoskeleton. 2021 (doi: 10.1002/cm.21660) Kirill worked with a talented team from Institute for Systems and Robotics in Portugal to develop a new methodology to measure collective cell behavior within monolayers. By comparing healthy nuclei to those overexpressing a Lamin-A mutant found in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS), they showed that cellular migration within a monolayer is substantially altered in cells neighboring the HGPS Lamin-A expressing-cells.  


August 9th, 2021

Congratulations to Ari! 

Mr. Ari Selzer, a 3rd year PhD student in Dr. Tom Smithgall’s lab in the MBSB program, received an NIH F31 Ruth Kirschstein predoctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute.  Ari’s research project is centered on developing and characterizing small molecule allosteric regulators of Src-Family Kinases as drug candidates for acute myeloid leukemia. Ari’s project incorporates structural determination of small molecule-kinase complexes along with biophysical and cellular experiments to understand the mechanism of action of this novel class of drug candidates. Congratulations once again!!  



Congratulations to Darian!

Mr. Darian Yang, the second-year MBSB student, is currently supported by the fellowship through the University of Pittsburgh's Pitt AIDS Research Training (PART) Program. This fellowship will fund a research project titled “Joint Computational and NMR Characterization of Early HIV-1 Capsid Assembly at the Atomic Level”, carried out in the labs of Profs. Chong and Gronenborn in the departments of Chemistry and Structural Biology, respectively, at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Recently, Darian was also recognized with "honorable mention” from National Science of Foundation, for his excellence on NSF fellowship application. See the Pittwire News.






July 25, 2021

Congratulations to Ananya!

Ms. Ananya Mukundan, a dual degree MSTP student who is in her third year in Dr. Andrew Hinck’s lab in the MBSB program, recently received a NIH F30 Ruth Kirschstein fellowship from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.  Ananya’s research is focused on using structural and biophysical approaches, coupled with functional studies in primary T-cells and other cultured cells, to understand how a parasite-derived TGF-beta mimic, known as TGM, ligates the human TGF-beta signaling receptors and induces immunosuppressive signaling that is required for the persistence of the parasite in its host.  Congratulations once again to Ananya on this prestigious award!



Congratulations to third-year MBSB student, Wes Brown.

He will receive the Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowships!

Wes’s thesis project involves optical control of protein function in cells and aquatic embryos in the lab of Prof. Deiters in the Department of Chemistry in University of Pittsburgh.