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Hancock Lab

Molecular Biomechanics

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Introduction to the Lab

The Hancock Lab studies the molecular biomechanics of kinesin motor proteins and the cytoskeleton. We approach fundamental questions on kinesin mechanochemistry and pursue biotechnology applications using kinesin motor proteins and microtubules. As Bioengineers, we are interested in how these protein nanomachines work and how their design is optimized for their cellular tasks. These questions are pursued using fluorescence microscopy and single-molecule investigations of recombinant kinesin motors, biochemical assays, and computational and analytical modeling of the kinesin ATP hydrolysis cycle. We are also interested in applications of the kinesin-microtubule system in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and microfluidic channels. These hybrid biological/engineered systems are used to investigate the maintenance of microtubule polarity in neurons and the interactions of motors, microtubules and microtubule binding proteins in mitosis. These efforts are relevant to understanding neurodegenerative diseases and developing novel drug approaches to inhibit tumor growth.