Research Interests

My main area of investigation has been the molecular mechanisms of the movements of cells. My laboratory has studied how the hydrolysis of ATP by an enzyme could generate force and motion. Using striated muscle, the best material for determining the relationship of molecular structure and mechanics to an enzyme mechanism, we developed a model for the contraction cycle based on the kinetic mechanism of the actomyosin ATPase cycle. The discovery of kinesin, a motor that moves organelles along microtubules, presented a new problem: Is the molecular mechanism of the microtubule-kinesin system the same as that of the actomyosin system? The two motors, myosin and kinesin, were found to have important structural features in common, but our kinetic analysis showed that they followed different reaction pathways. I have recently become interested in a different kind of motile system, one in which the polymerization of actin and tubulin produces force and motion. We are investigating the dynamic mechano-chemical properties of the cytoskeleton, using the techniques that were developed in the study of motor proteins.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology

Secondary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry