Dr. Rae Robertson-Anderson Leads $1.8 Million NSF Grant to Program Biological Cells to Design Futuristic Materials
Dr. Robertson-Anderson collaborated with three other researchers from Edinburgh, Scotland and Vienna, Austria to investigate the effect of DNA topology on its mobility and was recently published in Science Advances for research titled, ‘Topological tuning of DNA mobility in entangled solutions of supercoiled plasmids.’
Please access the news release here.
NIH: Drs. Robertson-Anderson and McGorty have been awarded a NIH R15 to fund undergraduate researchers to develop Biomimetic cytoskeleton systems and advanced microscopy methods to reveal intracellular DNA dynamics and distributions. Their previous R15 resulted in 9 papers and 1 book chapter with 7 undergraduate co-authors and 13 national presentations with 10 undergraduate presenters.
In his words: "I would never have earned the Goldwater scholarship if it wasn’t for the encouragement and guidance of my advisor and research mentor, Dr. Rae Robertson-Anderson. Receiving the award validated all the hard work –the long nights, work-filled weekends-- the cliché ‘no pain, no gain’ right? But really, I owe it to all the help and inspiration from my friends, professors and the amazing people I get to work with in the Anderson/McGorty biophysics lab. I’m so grateful to be a part of their lives. Special thanks to Dr. Gloria Lee, Dr. Ryan McGorty, Dr. Greg Severn, Dr. Ted Dezen, Philip Neill, and Dr. Rae Robertson-Anderson". He wrote an essay on his involvement in studying active matter bio-materials in our lab
Gregor Leech, junior undergraduate and biophysics major, has been working on autonomous and tunable biomaterials project since 2020. The goal of his research is to replicate the cytoskeletons in order to create autonomous materials that don’t need human input to move, morph and do work. You can access the published research: “Myosin-driven actin-microtubule networks exhibit self-organized contractile dynamics” in Science Advances, here.
Please access the USD news release here.
Kathryn Regan graduated with a Biophysics major and Math minor degree in the Spring of 2018. She first began working in Dr. Anderson's lab in November of 2015, focusing her work on the dynamics of crowded and entangled DNA. She started her doctoral program (Biomedical Engineering) at Boston University for Fall 2019.
This is an annual program held at USD. More details are available "here".
Dr. Bekele Gurmessa received his Ph.D. from the North Dakota State University's Department of Physics in 2015. He then joined Dr. Anderson's lab as a postdoctoral researcher in 2015 and worked in the lab till 2019 summer. He has been working as an assistant professor at Bucknell University since Fall 2019.
Robertson-Anderson and Ricketts (USD '18) were featured on local morning news show 'Good Morning San Diego' to discuss Robertson-Anderson's recently awarded Keck Research Grant and perform a demo using the non-Newtonian fluid 'ooblek'. They described the goals of the research grant to KUSI news anchors, and demonstrated how a simple mixture of cornstarch and water ('ooblek') can exemplify many of the key principles of the autonomous materials proposed in the grant. View the video clip "here". Related news stories can be found on "KNSD" , "SD Metro", and "SD Transcript".
Robertson-Anderson, was recently awarded a Research Grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. The $1M award is for collaborative research Robertson-Anderson will conduct with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from University of San Diego, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Chicago, and Rochester Institute of Technology. USD undergraduates will play a key role in this cutting-edge research. The Keck Research Program aims to fund projects that are “distinctive and novel in their approach, question the prevailing paradigm, or have the potential to break open new territory in their field”. Robertson-Anderson and her team propose to create a revolutionary class of autonomous materials that can perform motion and work by harnessing biologically-derived molecular components. Specifically, the team will fuse the skeletal proteins from cells with circadian clock proteins to engineer a suite of tunable materials that can autonomously stiffen and soften. This revolutionary approach to materials engineering has the potential to create an entirely new class of “living” materials that can not only intelligently respond to external signals, but also anticipate future demands. For more information on Robertson-Anderson’s award and the Keck Research Program read the following "press release" and visit the "W. M Keck Foundation website".