The Bird Lab

Research Overview

The Bird lab studies how the cytoskeleton is harnessed to build complex cellular architectures, and how defects in these processes underlie human disease. We focus upon the myosin family of nanoscopic molecular motors that generate force on actin filaments, and are key controllers of cell shape and function. Key questions to answer are how myosin motors contribute to cellular motion and the formation of actin-based structures such as neuronal synapses and mechanosensory stereocilia of the inner ear. To answer these questions, we utilize a multi-disciplinary approach including experiments using mutant animal models, cutting-edge microscopy in live cells, and purified proteins in biochemical and single-molecule assays. Through our experiments, we aim to dissect molecular mechanisms of cytoskeletal disease, such as hearing loss, and to develop new therapeutic approaches to treating them.

what we are doing in our lab

Research Focus Area

• Sensory biology
• Hearing loss
• Cytoskeleton and molecular motors
• Neurodegeneration
• Synaptic plasticity

bird research

what you would learn in our lab

Research Tools & Skills

• Cell culture
• Recombinant protein expression and purification
• Liquid chromatography
• Single molecule fluorescence assays
• Optical trapping
• Immunohistochemistry and microscopy
• Super-resolution microscopy

lab photo #4

current & up to date publications

Recent Publications

Check out the recent publications from the Primary Investigator (PI), Dr. Jonathan Bird

recent publications