Petra LevinDepartment of Biology, Washington University, St Louis, MO, USA F1000 Faculty Member (since 27 June 2008)
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
• 1996 PhD, Biology. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Dissertation: Asymmetric Division During Spore Formation in Bacillus subtilis. Advisor: Dr Richard Losick
• 1989 BA, Biology, Cum laude, with Highest Honors in Biology. Williams College, Williamstown, MA
• 2005-2010 National Science Foundation Career Award
• 2002 American Cancer Society, Research Scholar Award (Declined for NIH RO1)
• 1999-2000 MIT/Merck Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, MIT
• 1996-1999 Marion Abbe Fellow, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
• 1992-1993 Paul Mazur Fellow, Harvard University, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
• 1988-1989 class of 1960 Scholar, Williams College, Department of Biology
How do cells determine when and where to divide? Our work seeks to answer this question in a highly tractable model system, the soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis.
All cells precisely control division to ensure that daughter cells are the correct size and shape and that each receives a complete genome. A short generation time--approximately 20 minutes under ideal growth conditions--coupled with the ease of genetic manipulation, makes B. subtilis an excellent system in which to study cytokinesis.
The focus of our research is the highly conserved tubulin homolog FtsZ. In response to an unidentified cell cycle signal FtsZ assembles into a ring structure that serves as a framework for assembly of the division apparatus. The FtsZ ring remains in place until a second unidentified signal stimulates constriction of the ring at the leading edge of the invaginating septum.
Our goals are:
• To identify components of the regulatory network responsible for modulating FtsZ assembly.
• To employ genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry to understand how these factors act in concert to control cytokinesis.
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