Meet the Chair

Mike Rosen, Ph.D.

Mike Rosen, Ph.D.
Mike Rosen, Ph.D.
  • Professor and Chair, Department of Biophysics
  • Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Endowed Chair: Mar Nell and F. Andrew Bell Distinguished Chair in Biochemistry

Degrees/Training

1982–1987 B.S. Chemistry, B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan
19871988 C.P.G.S. Natural Sciences, Cambridge University, UK (Alan Battersby, advisor)
19881993 Ph.D. Chemistry, Harvard University (Stuart Schreiber, advisor)
19931995 Postdoctoral fellow, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute (Tony Pawson, advisor), University of Toronto (Lewis Kay, advisor)

Selected Honors

2009 Mar Nell and F. Andrew Bell Distinguished Chair in Biochemistry, UT Southwestern
2006 Carolyn R. Bacon Professorship in Medical Science and Education, UT Southwestern
2006 Inaugural Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award from the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science
2001 Boyer Award, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
1998 Kimmel Scholar Award, Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research
1997 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
1997 Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award
1993 Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation postdoctoral fellowship
1987 Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship

Rosen lab

Research in the Rosen Lab is designed to deeply understand structure, energetics, and function on the molecular scale, and, through applying concepts from chemistry and physics, discover how molecular properties generate organization and activity on the cellular scale. The Lab addresses these issues primarily through studies of the signaling pathways that control dynamic rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton. 

Dynamics of actin play a central role in numerous physiologic and pathologic processes, including cell motility and adhesion, vesicle trafficking, tumor metastasis, and bacterial/viral pathogenesis. During these processes, cytoskeletal dynamics are regulated on length scales ranging from angstroms to microns, and the Rosen Lab seeks to understand them in this context.

On the molecular scale, group members study how individual actin filaments are formed and destroyed in response to upstream signaling networks, and how molecules in these pathways fluctuate on picosecond to millisecond timescales in order to receive and transmit information, often through allosteric changes.

On the cellular scale, they work to understand how these filaments and their upstream regulators are organized into higher-order assemblies to produce the micron-size structures observed in vivo such as lamellipodia, focal adhesions, and budding vesicles, which dynamically rearrange on much longer timescales relevant to cell physiology. Critically, the lab also strives to bridge between these realms through discovering how structure and dynamics at the molecular scale produce physical properties at the cellular scale. 

This research employs a wide array of conceptual approaches and technologies to achieve these goals. These span from structural biology (NMR spectroscopy and x-ray crystallography), to biochemistry (in vitro reconstitution of cellular processes), to polymer chemistry/physics (light scattering, electron microscopy, modeling), to cell biology (in vitro and in vivo imaging). Lab members are of necessity multidisciplinary scientists, with interest and skills in diverse areas. Yet the group remains focused on the overarching goal of understanding biological processes in physical terms.