Q & A with Peter Devreotes

Back when the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology first formed, we had an executive committee with faculty members from every University division to help guide our early footsteps. One of those memebers was Peter Devreotes, professor of cell biology at the School of Medicine.

Peter Devreotes with postdoctoral fellow Huaqing Cai. (Photo: Marty Katz)

Peter Devreotes with postdoctoral fellow Huaqing Cai. (Photo: Marty Katz)

Over the years Devreotes has advised and mentored students from the high school to postdoctoral level who are associated with INBT in his laboratory. Here, we have a short question and answer with Devreotes, produced for the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences newsletter. We e get to know a little bit about this faculty member, his personal and research interests and what inspires him.

How did you decide to study science?

DEVREOTES: I never thought about anything else. My father taught me a lot of math and took me on nature walks. I developed this fascination with everything in nature and wanted to know how it worked—I still do. I was actually a physics major in college—didn’t take a single biology class-but I decided to do a Ph.D. in biophysics, at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood campus. I was immediately fascinated by the mechanics of cells.

Follow this link to read more from this interview.

 

Studying cells in 3D, the way it should be

When scientists experiment on cells in a flat Petri dish, it’s more been a matter of convenience than anything that recapitulates what that cell experiences in real life. Johns Hopkins professor Denis Wirtz for some time has been growing and studying cells three dimensions, rather than the traditional two dimensions. And pretty much, he’s discovered that a lot of what we think we know about cells is dead wrong.

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Cell in 3D. Image by Anjil Giri/Wirtz Lab

In this recent article by Johns Hopkins writer Dale Keiger, you will discover what Wirtz has discovered through his investigations. Furthermore, you will find out about the man behind these revolutionary ideas that are turning basic cell biology upside-down, as well as challenge a lot of what we thought we understood about diseases like cancer.

Wirtz directs the Johns Hopkins Physical-Sciences Oncology Center and is associate director and co-founder of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. He recently launched the Center for Digital Pathology. He is a the Theophilus Halley Smoot professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

You can read the entire magazine article “Moving cancer research out of the Petri dish and into the third dimension” online here at the JHU Hub.

Platelets, coagulation and cancer metastasis: a sticky situation in the blood

Owen McCarty

Join the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department for the first seminar of 2011: “Platelets, Coagulation and Cancer Metastasis: a Sticky Situation in the Blood” at 10:45 a.m., Thursday, March 3 in room 301 of Shaffer Hall at the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University. Owen J.T. McCarty of Oregon Health and Science University is the invited speaker.

McCarty serves as an assistant professor at OHSU in Portland in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Cell and Developmental biology. He studies the interplay between cell biology and fluid mechanics in the cardiovascular system. His investigation into the balance between hydrodynamic shear forces and chemical adhesive interactions could shed light on the underlying processes of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation.

An alumnus of Johns Hopkins University, McCarty’s 2002 Ph.D. dissertation in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering focused on the role of platelets in cancer metastasis and thrombosis. At the Department of Pharmacology, Oxford University and Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK, he continued his research as a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow in the area of thrombosis, examining the signaling pathways that rule platelet cytoskeletal reorganization. McCarty’s talk is co-sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences Oncology Center.

Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences Oncology Center