Ryan Littlefield, photo

Ryan Littlefield

Research Associate, Scripps

Cells are expert engineers: they build a vast assortment of molecular machines to divide, move, and change shape. Among the best known of these machines are contractile bundles that harness the power of myosin motors and actin filaments to produce tension, such as contractile rings, stress fibers, and striated myofibrils. While these contractile bundles have many similar components, they have extemely different architectures and dynamics that endow them with diverse functional properties. I am interested in fully understanding how these contractile bundles assemble. This will improve our understanding of how these bundles function normally, how these bundles are involved in disease, and how to engineer contractile bundles in vitro.