Josh Baker Laboratory

Welcome to the research laboratory of Dr. Josh Baker.

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanochemical processes that drive molecular motors. We use a variety of single molecule and ensemble system techniques to study how mechanoenzymes transfer chemical free energy to mechanical work, as well as how they transfer mechanical signals to chemical responses. By isolating and modeling these events at both the single molecule level and as an ensemble system we are able to establish reliable mathematical and computational models to describe the relationships that govern the mechanics of molecular motors.

To truly understand the many mechanisms of cellular motility it is necessary to move beyond a molecular reductionist approach, as this approach has failed to describe the mechanical processes observed in cells. Using a global analysis that incorporates the dynamic interplay between the force generating and force sensing mechanism of mechanoenzymes we are able to better describe these phenomena observed in basic cell functions such as intracellular transport, cell division, muscle contraction, and mechanical signal transduction.

Further, we also study the mechanisms underlying muscle regulation. Specifically, we are interested in the factors that govern striated muscle regulation. While much structural and biochemical data exists on the mechanics of striated muscle regulation, it is paramount that a reliable and comprehensive model be developed that can describe the specific mechanics that drive the activation of regulated muscle. Using a variety of techniques ranging from solution studies, single molecule measurements, and ensemble systems measurements, we are developing such a model that can incorporate how changes of single molecule binding kinetics (through mutations, chemical perturbations, etc.) alter regulation of muscle contraction all the way up to the cellular level.