Cell biology encompasses a lot of science. Where’s your focus?
I study magnetosomes, which are intracellular organelles that certain bacteria use for orientation and navigation along the earth’s magnetic field.
Why is that important?
Understanding how these bacteria produce magnetosomes has the potential to benefit a variety of scientific disciplines. One of the most exciting areas that might benefit from this work is the use of magnetite crystals to investigate the history of life on earth.When magnetotactic bacteria die, they leave behind their magnetosome chains as fossils. These have been found in 2-billion-year-old sediments as well as in a Martian meteorite. Studying how modern day organisms form magnetite may help us understand the ancient environments that would have formed them.
What attracted you to Berkeley?
Berkeley is an incredible research and teaching institution, and to have an opportunity to be a part of such an environment is really phenomenal. Also, I feel a strong connection to the Bay Area from my graduate school experience at UCSF, and couldn’t wait to move back.