Professor Maria Kilfoil

Department of Physics
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Hasbrouck Laboratory Room 131
Amherst, MA 01003

The science in the Kilfoil lab

The cell is the simplest entity that exhibits the characteristics of life, and many of these characteristics rely on the cell's mechanical properties. The biological physics projects in the Kilfoil research group all involve advanced microscopy methods to study dynamics as a direct probe of mechanical aspects of the cell. We tackle mitosis by studying how the biopolymer molecules called the cytoskeleton coordinate the spindle in budding yeast; the sensing of forces in cells by studying the dynamic response of a mechanosensitive membrane channel protein to osmotic pressure in bacteria; and mechanics of the cytoskeleton via microrheology of in vitro reconstituted actin-microtubule networks.