April 17, 2008
Dan Fletcher’s studies of dynamic actin networks of crawling cells using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical traps were featured in Nature Magazine’s April issue.
The article explains Dr. Fletcher’s process and his goal to develop better tools that help to overcome the limitations of existing technologies and reveal new behavior of biological systems.
Dr. Fletcher explains in the article, “I realized that although we could build these fancy instruments that control forces down to the piconewton level or below, we had no clue how to assemble complex molecular systems that do what the crawling cells could do.” This is what led him to study the dynamic actin networks. “I did my doctoral work building force and optical microscopy systems,” he continues. “I was an instrument developer and did not really get to use them, as the main goal was always to develop a new contrast mechanism or achieve the best resolution.”
When Dr. Fletcher started his postdoc work however, and observed cells crawling, all of that changed.
Read the full article at Nature.com.