Biological phase separation has emerged as an important mechanism that can regulate cellular organization. Biomolecular condensates, or ‘membrane-less organelles’, concentrate specific proteins, nucleic acids, and small molecules without an encapsulating membrane. The Ditlev Lab studies the role of biological phase separation in organizing neuronal and immunological signaling pathways at cellular membranes.
Our team uses a combination of biochemical reconstitution and cell biology to understand how the composition of biomolecular condensates dictates their specific function. We are specifically interested in understanding the role that biomolecular condensates play in local actin polymerization, ion flux across membranes, and local RNA translation as well as understanding how the intrinsic biophysical properties of condensates determines their ability to associate with or repel other molecules and condensates on membranes.