Michael Cianfrocco Lab

Our Research

We are a research team that is trying to understand the molecular details that determine how, where, and when motor proteins transport intracellular cargo.  Our research program focuses on the structural biology and biophysics underlying microtubule-based intracellular transport through the use of cryo-electron microscopysingle molecule TIRF, and biochemistry.

Overarching questions of the lab:

  • How is specificity determined between motor proteins and cargo?
  • How are the activities of multi-motor complexes regulated?
  • What are the molecular consequences of neurodegenerative disease-causing mutations? 

Along the way, we are also developing cloud computing tools for cryo-electron microscopy to facilitate its adoption and to remove barriers for new users.

About Michael Cianfrocco

Research Assistant Professor
  • cryo-electron microscopy
  • microtubule-based intracelluar transport
  • single-molecule methods

Michael Cianfrocco's lab focuses on the structural biology and biophysics underlying microtubule-based intracellular transport, defects in which can result in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. His lab uses a combination of high-resolution cryo-EM and single-molecule techniques to investigate transporting of motor-cargo complexes.

Recent Publications

An integrated, pipeline-based approach for cryo-EM structure determination and atomic model refinement in the cloud. Cianfrocco MA#, Lahiri I, DiMaio F, Leschziner AE. bioRxiv [bioRxiv]

Lis1 has two opposing modes of regulating cytoplasmic dynein. DeSantis ME*, Cianfrocco MA*, Htet ZM*, Tran PT, Reck-Peterson SL, Leschziner AE. Cell. 2017 170(6): 1197-1208. [Article][bioRxiv]

Big data in cryoEM: automated collection, processing, and accessibility of EM data. Baldwin PR, Tan YZ, Eng ET, Rice WJ, Noble AJ, Negro CJ, Cianfrocco MA, Potter CS, Carragher#. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2017 [PubMed]

COSMIC2: A Science Gateway for Cryo-Electron Microscopy. Cianfrocco MA, Wong M, Youn C, Wagner R, Leschziner AE. Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing. 2017. New Orleans, LA July 9-13. [PDF]

Mechanism and regulation of cytoplasmic dynein. Cianfrocco MA, DeSantis ME, Leschziner AE, Reck-Peterson SL. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2015;31:83-108. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100814-125438. Epub 2015 Sep 30. Review. [PubMed]

View a full list here

Lab News

Interested in joining us? Undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows excited to push the limits of science are encouraged to apply. 

Cloud computing pipeline preprint posted to bioRxiv AND online seminar on the cloud posted! January 11, 2018

Somaye Badieyan, Ph.D. joins the lab as a post-doc. Welcome Somaye! January 2, 2018

Two biophysics rotation students are joining us for Winter 2018 semester: Nirupama Sumangala & Zhenyu Tan January 2, 2018

'How cryo-EM is revolutionizing strutural biology' video with Mike & Melanie. LinkDecember 10, 2017

Mike's lecture on cloud computing from NRAMM is now online. Link. November 17, 2017

Big data in cryo-EM: Review published highlighting importance of the cloud in cryo-EM. Read more here. November 5, 2017

COSMIC2 science gateway is highlighted by the Science Gateways Community Institute. Read the article hereOctober 23, 2017 

Mike & Melanie Ohi write an overview of cryo-EM in reponse to the Nobel Prize announcement for cryo-EM October 4, 2017