Dr. Kuo develops new technologies/methodologies and uses a multidisciplinary approach to understand the mechanical functions of cells.
As a graduate student studying bacterial chemotaxis, he used both molecular analysis of a fla operon and video-tracking hardware/software that he built to analyze switching statistics of the flagellar motor complex. As a post-doctoral fellow, he used biochemical purification/reconstitution and optical tweezers that he built, and achieved the first force measurements of the microtubule motor, kinesin, as individual molecules. As faculty, he’s built other optical instruments, including laser-deflection particle-tracking microrheology, to understand reconstituted actin-based motility and mechanics of cultured cells.
Dr. Kuo’s projects include developing instrumentation and biochemical methodology for single-molecule (TIRF) and super-resolution (PALM) imaging of reconstituted actin-based motility.
The Kuo Lab is refining single-molecule detection techniques, super-resolution microscopy, multiphoton microscopy and correlative light-electron microscopy.
By using novel optical tools, the Kuo Lab’s goals are to understand cell motility and the regulation of cell shape. Regulating cell shape is important for many essential functions, including immunological defense. They have pioneered laser-based nanotechnologies, including optical tweezers, nanotracking and laser-tracking microrheology. Its applications range from physics, pharmaceutical delivery by phagocytosis (cell and tissue engineering), bacterial pathogens important in human disease and cell division.
The Kuo lab’s cell mechanics research group has created laser-based microscopy techniques to monitor the way cells change shape and exert force. They discovered molecule-sized nano-stepping of bacterial pathogens undergoing actin-based cell motility, which is a fundamental process for most cells.
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Lab Website: Advanced Optics Lab
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Cockburn IA, Amino R, Kelemen RK, Kuo SC, Tse SW, Radtke A, Mac-Daniel L, Ganusov VV, Zavala F, Ménard R. “In vivo imaging of CD8+ T cell-mediated elimination of malaria liver stages.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 28;110(22):9090-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1303858110
Yamanaka S, Campbell NR, An F, Kuo SC, Potter JJ, Mezey E, Maitra A, Selaru FM. “Coordinated effects of microRNA-494 induce G₂/M arrest in human cholangiocarcinoma.”Cell Cycle. 2012 Jul 15;11(14):2729-38. doi: 10.4161/cc.21105.
DeRose R, Pohlmeyer C, Umeda N, Ueno T, Nagano T, Kuo S, Inoue T. “Spatio-temporal manipulation of small GTPase activity at subcellular level and on timescale of seconds in living cells.” J Vis Exp. 2012 Mar 9;(61). pii: 3794. doi: 10.3791/3794.
Fisher CI, Kuo SC. “Filament rigidity causes F-actin depletion from nonbinding surfaces.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jan 6;106(1):133-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804991106.
Reichl EM, Ren Y, Morphew MK, Delannoy M, Effler JC, Girard KD, Divi S, Iglesias PA, Kuo SC, Robinson DN. “Interactions between myosin and actin crosslinkers control cytokinesis contractility dynamics and mechanics.” Curr Biol. 2008 Apr 8;18(7):471-80. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.02.056.