Cilia structure and function
Cilia are hair-like structures protruding out of the cell, taking part in a wide variety of biological processes. Since the cilia play an essential role in the development and function of the cell, cilia-related diseases usually have detrimental effects on the development and the health of patients such as retardation, blindness and chronic respiratory diseases. Understanding how cilia function, will provide opportunities to effectively diagnose and treat cilia-related diseases. Our research focuses on elucidating the three-dimensional structure of the cilia and the underlying logistic system used to dynamically maintain and assemble the cilia. We aim to obtain high resolutions of various components of the cilia by cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography. Together with complementary data, we will model the atomic structures of cilia components to get novel insights into the molecular mechanism of ciliary assembly. In addition, we will also use correlative light and electron microscopy to exploring the ciliary dynamics.
Cryo-EM Methodology Development
We are doing methodology development for cryo-EM in the area of Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy, cryo-electron tomography and cryo-Focus Ion Beam in order to solve important biological questions.