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Nano-biology of cell transport to be SMIC talk focus

March 18, 2013

Nano-biology of cell transport to be topic

March 17, 2013

Luis Vidali of Worcester Polytechnic Institute is this spring’s distinguished speaker at the Skidmore Microscopy Imaging Center. He will discuss “Using microscopy to investigate the function of myosin XI, a nano-motor that controls the cytoskeleton and exocytosis during polarized cell growth” in a talk scheduled at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in Davis Auditorium. Admission is open to all.

The growing interest in plants in such areas as biofuels, agriculture and medicine is a reminder of the profound importance of plants. Yet we are only just beginning to learn about the basic biology of plants, explains biology Professor David Domozych, who arranged Vidali’s visit. According to Domozych, “Modern plant biology has been enhanced by the recent emergence of molecular genetics and fueled by new technologies in cell and molecular biology. A model organism is representative of a particular taxonomic group that has been already well-studied and is convenient for a variety of experiments to enhance understanding of that group.”

Domozych added, “Physcomitrella is a moss that has many experimental attributes that make it a great model organism for understanding the basic biology of plants. Dr. Vidali, a leading researcher in Physcomitrella research, studies the ways the cytoskeleton of the moss cells works in development and growth. His talk will deal with the nano-biology of the way materials are transported inside the Physcomitrella cell. He will also demonstrate how modern microscopy allows him to visualize these mechanisms.”

Vidali will draw on research he has completed with the support of a National Science Foundation grant that he received in 2009.

Vidali earned a B.S. with highest honors in basic biomedical research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and received the Jacques Loeb Founder’s Fellowship to study physiology at the Woods Hole (Mass.) Marine Biological Laboratory in 1994. He earned a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology at UMass, Amherst. He taught at UMass and at Woods Hole before completing a National Institutes of Health training grant fellowship in the Division of Hematology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

He joined the faculty of WPI in 2009 and has taught in the institute’s departments of biology and biotechnology, and department of chemistry and biochemistry. In addition to continuing as a faculty member in both departments, he also is affiliated with WPI’s Bioinformatics Program.

Vidali has contributed to a number of articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Plant Cell, Journal of Cell Science, Plant Journal, and Plant Cell Physiology.

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