Raymundo Alfaro-Aco, a second year graduate student in the Petry lab, was awarded the first HHMI Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study for our department. The HHMI Gillian Fellowship awardees are chosen for their academic excellence, scientific potential, and commitment to the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the sciences.
Raymundo's research in the Petry Lab aims to elucidate how microtubules are generated from microtubule organizing centers. This is the key step to generate the microtubule cytoskeleton, which is critical for the organization and function of eukaryotic cells. Despite its importance, the process of microtubule nucleation is poorly understood. By combining biochemistry, single-molecule microscopy and structural studies, Raymundo will study how the universal microtubule nucleator ã-tubulin ring complex nucleates microtubules. This will help explain how the microtubule cytoskeleton generates the structures that enable essential cellular functions, such as intracellular transport, motility, and cell division.