Primary Research Focus
The Chandrasekar Lab focuses on understanding the role of actin cytoskeleton and associated molecular motor proteins in cellular transport pathways and transport related kidney disease.
We use a multifaceted approach involving animal models and cell biological and biochemical methods including advanced microscopy techniques. In addition, we develop novel tools to address outstanding scientific questions in the field of cytoskeletal research.
About the Chandrasekar Lab
Lab Projects and News
Role of Nonmuscle Myosin II in Membrane Trafficking and Organ Function
We hypothesize that in specialized epithelial cell types that populate organs like kidney, actin-NMII play a critical role during various steps of their unique transport machinery. Targeted postnatal inactivation of NMII isoforms in mouse renal epithelial cells result in progressive kidney disease confirming the critical role for actin-NMII in these cells. We utilize these kidney specific conditional genetic knockout mouse models, specialized renal epithelial cells as model system to interrogate the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the complex transport machinery.
Generation of Novel Biosensor to Measure Intracellular Tension
We have successfully generated a FRET based biosensor of NMII that enables us to measure force generated along the actin filaments in live cells. We collaborate with Dr. Jing Liu, an expert biophysicist at Indiana University for this work. In addition to the biological questions, we are addressing using this biosensor; this novel tool can be of use to scientists from various fields like bioengineering, material science, etc.
Meet the Chandrasekar Lab Team
Karla Otterpohl, PhD
Karla is involved in developing and characterizing the various genetic knockout mouse models we use in the lab. She also performs advanced imaging techniques like TIRFM and live cell confocal imaging to interrogate the role of NMII isoforms in cellular transport pathways. Karla is an expert mouse geneticist with extensive training in genetic mouse models and molecular biology techniques. In the Chandrasekar Lab she has worked on expanding her skill set to advanced microscopy techniques and cytoskeletal research. She earned a PhD from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2015.
Brook W. Busselman
Brook joined the Chandrasekar lab in May 2019. His responsibility is to explore the molecular link between three human kidney disease-related genes: uromodulin (UMOD), Sodium potassium chloride cotransporter (NKCC2) and Nonmuscle Myosin IIA (MYH9). He works with conditional genetic knockout mouse models, novel mouse thick ascending limb cells generated in the lab to address the questions. Brook completed his undergraduate studies in medical biology at University of South Dakota. He has several years of work experience in pre-hospital emergency medicine and has gained other lab experience. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in biology and was accepted into the University of South Dakota’s Basic Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.
Jenna joined the Chandrasekar lab in June 2021. She is using biochemical techniques to investigate the role of NMII isoforms in the kidney. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2021.