Tom Shemesh

Research Summary

We construct theoretical, physics-based models for the formation, shaping and function of sub-cellular structures. Primarily, we study the morphology of membrane surfaces in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), self-arrangement and force production in the cytoskeleton, and the interplay between proliferation and mechanics in multi-cellular systems.

The lab research is inherently interdisciplinary: we use physics considerations and computer simulations, while working in close collaboration with experimental biologists in an effort to create models that are relevant to understanding the actual biological systems. In contrast with information-focused theoretical biology, we study the “blue collar”, mechanical, role of proteins and lipids.

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Recent Publications:
  • Schweitzer, T. Shemesh, M.M. Kozlov. Model for shaping membrane sheets by protein scaffolds. Biophysical Journal 109, 564-573 (2015).
  • Y. Liu, X. Bian, F.B. Romano, T. Shemesh, T. Rapoport, J. Hu. Cis and trans interactions between atlastin molecules during membrane fusion. PNAS 112, E1851-60 (2015). 
  • H. Tee*, T. Shemesh*^, V.Thiagarajan, R.F. Hariadi, KL. Anderson, N. Volkmann, D. Hanein, S. Sivaramakrishnan, M.M. Kozlov, A.D. Bershadsky^. Cellular chirality arising from the self-organization of the actin cytoskeleton. Nature Cell Biology. 17: 445-57 (2015). [* equal contribution. 
  • G. Fedorov, T. Shemesh^. Physical Model for Stabilization and Repair of Trans-Endothelial Apertures. Biophysical Journal 112, 388-397 (2017).
  • Chen, A. Callan-Jones, E. Fedorov, A. Ravasio, A. Brugues, H. Ting Ong, Y. Toyama, B. C. Low, X. Trepat, T. Shemesh, R. Voituriez, B. Ladoux. Large-scale curvature sensing by directional actin flow drives cellular migration mode switching. Nature Physics 15, 393-402 (2019). 
  • Kadosh, A. Colom, B. Yellin, A. Roux, T. Shemesh^. The tilted helix model of dynamin oligomers. PNAS 116, 12845-12850 (2019). 
  • Wang, L.D. Clark, Y. Gao, M.M. Kozlov, T. Shemesh, T. Rapoport. Mechanism of membrane-curvature generation by ER-tubule shaping proteins. Nature Communications (2021).
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