Ostap Laboratory

Research Overview

The goal of our research is to understand the cellular machinery responsible for powering cell movements and shaping the architecture of cells, tissues, and organs.   Our discovery-based research focuses on the role of the cytoskeleton, molecular motors, and signaling pathways in powering cell migration, muscle contraction, and the transport of internal cell compartments.  The pathways investigated in our laboratory are crucial for several normal and pathological processes, including: cell and tissue development, endocytosis, wound healing, immune response, cardiomyopathies, and metastases of tumors.

Molecular Motors

Myo1b StructureMost of our current efforts are focused on investigating cytoskeletal motors (myosin, dynein, and kinesin).  These remarkable nano-machines use chemical energy stored in our cells (in the form of ATP) to generate mechanical force and motion.  Cytoskeletal motors are the engines that power muscle contraction, cell migration, intracellular transport, cell division, and cell shape.  We are determining how these motors work at the molecular level, how they are physically connected to the machinery they are powering, how they are regulated, how they interact with other motors and signaling networks, and how their fundamental biophysical parameters impact cell function.  We are using a range of biochemical, cell biological, single-molecule, and other biophysical techniques to better understand these proteins in health and disease.

Research Laboratory

Clinical Research BuildingWe use a range of biochemical, cell biological, and biophysical techniques in our research.  These techniques include stopped-flow kinetics, single-molecule fluorescence, optical trapping, and live-cell microscopy.  Our laboratory is located in the Clinical Research Building on the Penn Medicine Campus (click here for map).  Ostap Laboratory personnel are active members of the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute (PMI), which is an interdisciplinary group of researchers at Penn that are dedicated to the study of the mechanisms of muscle function, muscle disease, and motile biological systems. 

Pennsylvania Muscle Institute For information about PMI activities and programs, please click here.


University of Pennsylvania | School of Medicine