Laura Director

Cytoskeletal dynamics and cell migration in cancer invasion and metastasis


I received my BS in Biochemistry from Bates College in 2008. After spending a winter in Alta, I did research for a small biotech company in Portland, Maine for two years. I joined the CMB program in the Fall of 2011 and am currently working towards a PhD with Dr. Alan Howe. I also enjoy skiing, running, and hiking!

Research Description

Our lab studies how cells sense and interpret their extracellular environment. We focus on the mechanisms through which the extracellular microenvironment regulates cell behavior, with a specific interest in how this regulation contributes to the invasion and spread of metastatic tumors. Cells exchange forces with their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) and this ‘mechanoreciprocity’ regulates a variety of important cellular events such as cell fate, shape, and movement.

Using ovarian cancer as a model, we have shown previously that protein kinase A is enriched at the leading edge of cells and this localization is important for cell migration. However this mechanism for activation is unclear. One of our focuses is understanding how the role of stretch and tension contributes to the activation of PKA at the leading edge of cells during cell migration. My research focuses on characterizing leading edge AKAPs (A-kinase anchoring proteins) and how intracellular tension may affect the binding of both PKA and other proteins involved in cytoskeletal dynamics, adhesion, and migration of cells.

Contact Info

Office: C141 Given

Lab: 331 HSRF


   Alan Howe, Ph.D.

Upcoming Events

  • 7/7/2015 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
    Davis Auditorium
    Laura Solomon
  • 7/7/2015 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
    Davis Auditorium
    Phyu Thwe

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