IAMS Lecture on September 28, 2:00 pm, Dr. Poe Lecture Hall, Assistant Professor, Dr. Shannon Yan


IAMS Lecture Announcement


Title: Live Cell Force Dynamics – Do Cell Membranes Support or Resist Tension Propagation?

Speaker: Dr. Shannon Yan 楊軒博士 (Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Stanford University, USA)

Time: 2:00 PM, September 28 (Thursday), 2023

Place: Dr. Poe Lecture Hall, IAMS (本所浦大邦講堂臺大校園內)

Contact: Dr. Liang-Yan Hsu 許良彥博士


Dr. Shannon Yan (楊軒) received her B.S. in Chemistry from National Taiwan University and followedProf. Kopin Liu at IAMS to study chemical dynamics. She then pursued her Ph.D. in Chemistry at UCBerkeley with Prof. Ignacio Tinoco, Jr. to study ribosome translation dynamics using mass spectrometryand force spectroscopy with optical tweezers. During postdoc with Prof. Carlos Bustamante, also at UCBerkeley, Dr. Yan expanded the scope of her research in single-molecule biophysics, from co-transcriptional RNA folding to membrane remodeling during vesicle budding. Through collaboration withthe Weiner lab at UCSF, Dr. Yan advanced to investigate live cell force dynamics, where she adaptedoptical tweezers to monitor membrane tension during optogenetic-induced actin-driven cellprotrusion/contraction in neutrophils. The outcome of this work settles a long-standing dispute in the fieldby revealing that membrane tension rapidly propagates across the cell and could act as an integrator ofphysiological signals, critical for regulating cell shape/movement. This work serves as the basis for Dr. Yanto further study membrane tension dynamics during cell division. In parallel, she is developing newmolecular probes and instrumentations for the visualization of forces and tension within the cellularmachinery, with the aim to apply these sensors to study spindle/microtubule dynamics during mitosis(CASI Award, BWF). Dr. Yan was also granted an NIH K99 award to study the mechanistic aspects ofmitotic checkpoint proteins (MAD2), whose dynamic fold switching safeguards the mechanicalprogression of chromosome segregation, thus expanding our understanding on factors involved in celldivision. The overarching goal of her lab in the Department of Biology at Stanford is to directlymeasure and broadly explore the mechanical aspects inside and around cells, thereby revealing forcefields characteristic of living processes. Ultimately, Dr. Yan aims to unravel the long-missing narrativesin the mechanical dimension and integrate them with the finely resolved 3D cell atlases, animating livingcells at work—as well as in disease—as a 4D Physiological ‘movie.’


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