Andrea J. Liu
Dr. Liu in the Hepburn Professor of Physics in the University of Pennsylvania Department of Physics and Astronomy. Prior to becoming a professor, she received her Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University, followed by being a postdoctoral fellow at the Exxon Research and Engineering Company, and then a postdoctoral appointment at UC-Santa Barbara. She then worked as a faculty member at UCLA before moving to the University of Pennsylvania. Her research group uses a combination of analytical theory and numerical simulation to study problems in soft matter physics ranging from jamming in glass-forming liquids, foams and granular materials, to biophysical self-assembly in actin structures and other systems. The idea of jamming is that slow relaxations in many different systems, ranging from glass-forming liquids to foams and granular materials, can be viewed in a common framework. For example, one can define jamming to occur when a system develops a yield stress or extremely long stress relaxation time in a disordered state. According to this definition, many systems jam. Colloidal suspensions of particles are fluid but jam when the pressure or density is raised. Foams and emulsions (concentrated suspensions of deformable bubbles or droplets) flow when a large shear stress is applied, but jam when the shear stress is lowered below the yield stress. Even molecular liquids jam as temperature is lowered or density is increased; this is the glass transition. They have been testing the speculation that jamming has a common origin in these different systems, independent of the control parameter varied. On the biophysical side, her research has been motivated recently by the phenomenon of cell crawling. The morphology of the resulting structure is of special interest because it determines the mechanical properties of the network. Her group is developing dynamical descriptions that capture morphology. In addition, they are exploring models for how actin polymerization gives rise to force generation at the leading edge.
Mary E. Maxon
Dr. Maxon is the Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Dr. Maxon oversees Berkeley Laboratory’s Biological Systems and Engineering, Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology, and Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Divisions and the DOE Joint Genome Institute. She earned her B.S. in biology and chemistry from the State University of New York, Albany, and her Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Maxon has worked in the private sector, both in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the public sector, highlighted by her tenure as the Assistant Director for Biological Research at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President.
Dr. Schnitzer is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor at Stanford University with a joint appointment in the Departments of Biology and of Applied Physics. He is co-director of the Cracking the Neural Code (CNC) Program at Stanford University and a faculty member of the Neuroscience, Biophysics, and Molecular Imaging Programs in the Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Schnitzer received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in Physics prior to his appointment at Stanford University. His research concerns the innovation of novel optical imaging technologies and their use in the pursuit of understanding neural circuits. The Schnitzer Lab has invented two forms of fiber-optic imaging, one- and two-photon fluorescence microendoscopy, which enable minimally invasive imaging of cells in deep brain tissues. The lab is further developing microendoscopy technology, studying how experience or environment alters neuronal properties, and exploring two different clinical applications. The group has also developed two complementary approaches to imaging neuronal and astrocytic dynamics in awake behaving animals. Much research focuses on cerebellum-dependent forms of motor learning. By combining imaging, electrophysiological, behavioral, and computational approaches, the lab seeks to understand cerebellar dynamics underlying learning, memory, and forgetting. Further work in the lab concerns neural circuitry in other mammalian brain areas such as hippocampus and neocortex, as well as the neural circuitry of Drosophila.
Clare M. Waterman
Dr. Waterman is a Distinguished Investigator, Chief of the Laboratory of Cell and Tissue Morphodynamics, and Director of the Cell Biology and Physiology Center at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, in the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Waterman received her bachelor's degree in biochemistry in 1989 from Mount Holyoke College and her M.S. in exercise science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst prior to obtaining her Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. After completing post-doctoral training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1999, she joined the Department of Cell Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. After obtaining tenure at Scripps as an Associate Professor, Dr. Waterman joined the NHLBI in 2007. She has also trained hundreds of Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral scholars through her teaching in the Physiology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, where she served as faculty from 2000-2009, and as its first female director from 2009 – 2014. The Physiology Course is an intensive seven-week laboratory summer course that has run for over 125 years. It is designed to bring together senior Ph.D. candidates and early post-doctoral researchers to work on cutting-edge questions in cell physiology. Her research program is focused on understanding how proteins self-organize into cell-scale macromolecular ensembles that mediate the dynamic morphological and physical processes driving cell migration. The ability of cells to directionally move is critical to embryogenesis, development of the vascular and nervous systems, immune response and wound healing, and its regulation is compromised in vascular disease, immune disease, and cancer. Dr. Waterman invented the method of Fluorescent Speckle Microscopy (FSM) and used this and other state-of-the art light microscopy methods to elucidate how macromolecular protein complexes self-organize at the cell-scale to mediate directed physical outputs that drive specific cell shape change and movement. She has pioneered an integrated approach that demonstrated how cellular structures composed of the microtubule, filamentous actin, and integrin adhesion proteins, are dynamically built and maintained, how they physically interact with one another, and how cell signaling coordinates their structure and dynamics to specifically mediate cell migration. Her work has shown that specific transient protein-protein interactions in a “molecular clutch” generate organized and directed forces in the cytoskeleton and transmit them through integrin-based focal adhesions to the extracellular environment to drive cell motility and morphogenesis of the vasculature.
Christopher Jones - (Staff Officer)