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Ankita Jha

National Institutes of Health

I am a cell and developmental biologist currently working as a post-doctoral research fellow in Clare Waterman’s group at National Institutes of Health, Bethesda USA. I am interested in the spatial organization and patterning of signaling components on the plasma membrane and how signaling dynamics regulate downstream cytoskeletal processes. I am currently looking at the bleb-based migration under low adhesion and high confinement in melanoma metastatic cells. I am curious about how metastatic cells remain polarized while moving under different extra-cellular matrix conditions?

During my PhD, I worked under the mentorship of Thomas Lecuit in Marseille France and in collaboration with Satyajit Mayor in NCBS, Bangalore India to work on the interface of membrane organization of signaling components on the plasma membrane regulating mechanics during gastrulation. I was curious to understand molecular basis of germ-band extension, which is one of the key morphogenetic events during gastrulation. To understand this, I did quantitative measurements of receptor-ligand interactions on the plasma membrane by using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and reported activation of receptor by measuring receptor cluster formation in vivo. I also reported the importance of de-sensitization pathway and endocytosis on receptor signaling from the plasma membrane. I proposed a mechanism of dynamic modulation and arrangement of receptors on the membrane regulating quantitative Rho-Rok signaling during cell shape changes in gastrulation.

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