Dynamic Nanosystems for the Temporal and Spatial Control of Cell Functions
The objective of this research is to synthesize photochromic molecules that can optically control cellular functions through their action on cell membranes and the cytoskeleton. First, we propose to develop a variety of photoswitchable lipids that can influence the biophysical properties of lipid bilayers and cell membranes. In addition to manipulating membrane properties, such as fluidity and permeability, we propose to explore photoswitchable membrane anchors that could ultimately control signaling cascades. Finally, we propose to synthesize caged and photochromic molecules that can modulate the dynamic polymerization of actin and tubulin.