Research in the Bezanilla lab aims to understand how molecules within cells impart geometric information leading to cell shape determination. Cell shape often stems from restrictions imposed by the extracellular environment. Eukaryotes can control this by building a wide variety of structures, ranging from bone and shell in animals to the carbohydrate-based cell wall in plants. How organisms control large-scale patterning of their extracellular matrices is a fundamental open question in biology. Because plants are constrained by their cell walls, plants provide an excellent model to address this question. Our lab seeks to identify molecules within the cell that control cellular patterning, with a particularly focus on the role of regulators of the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking. We are interested in diversity and thus have pioneered the use of moss and most recently algae to pursue novel approaches to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying cell shape.

Awards and Achievements