Jessica Ridilla, PhD
RESEARCH PROGRAMS AND AFFILIATIONS
- Regulation of actin filament polymerization
- Mechanisms of actin-microtubule crosstalk
- Role of actin and microtubules in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
- Single-molecule super-resolution microscopy techniques (i.e. TIRF, STED, STORM).
ASSOCIATIONS / MEMBERSHIPS
Historically, the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons have been studied as separate entities despite abundant observations that the localizations of each cytoskeleton coincide and execute diverse cellular functions, physiological processes, and cellular morphologies. The Henty-Ridilla lab studies the mechanisms that coordinate the dynamic rearrangements of the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons using an integrated approach that combines cell biology, genetics, advanced microscopy techniques (single-molecule TIRF, STED, STORM, and opto-genetics), and biomimetic in vitro reconstitution assays. We are one of few labs in the world that can study the effects of both cytoskeletal polymers simultaneously. Our current focus is investigating mechanisms of actin and microtubule crosstalk coordinated by phase separated liquid droplets as a new paradigm for understanding the onset of neurodegeneration. We are investigating mechanisms that underpin liquid droplet dynamics and their clearance, how liquid droplets influence the cytoskeleton and to use regulatory proteins as therapeutic targets in the treatment and diagnosis of ALS and other incurable neurodegenerative diseases.