Dr. Daniel Fletcher, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, has received an award from the Hellman Family Faculty Fund in support of his research, “Some assembly required: Rebuilding the actin motility machinery”.
Established in 1995 through a gift from the Hellman Family, the Hellman Family Faculty Fund provides substantial support for the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their work. Recipients are selected based on the excellence of their research. Fifteen faculty were selected for awards in 2005.
Dr. Daniel A. Fletcher joined the bioengineering faculty in 2002, after receiving a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Science from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. His research focuses on cell motility, the cytoskeleton’s role in disease, and its potential as an engineering material. Dr. Fletcher’s lab works on developing optical, mechanical, and microfluidic instruments to measure properties and manipulate the organization of cytoskeletal proteins.
The funded research project investigates the mechanics of cell movements. Studies have found that polymerization of the cytoskeletal protein actin generates forces for crawling motility, such as that exhibited by cells in the immune system. Using optical and force microscopy, the Fletcher Lab will probe the role of mechanical forces on actin network organization and force generation.