Lennart Hilbert

Graduate student, Ph.D. (Physiology), B.Sc. (Physics)

Recently graduated

B.Sc. Physics

Project : Reverse engineering smooth muscle contractile proteins

My work has two major goals: 1) To understand how a group of myosin motor proteins collectively propels an actin filament, and 2) to, based on this understanding, explore the relevance of different smooth muscle contractile proteins to molecular mechanics of smooth muscle. Knowledge gained in these areas can potentially explain how changes in the expression levels of smooth muscle contractile proteins cause pathologic changes in muscle mechanics, such as airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma. For the detailed assessment of mechanical interactions between myosin protein motors and actin filaments, I am developing an automated video analysis software for the in vitro motility assay. For a theoretical understanding of the experimental results, I develop mathematical models of the mechanical interaction of myosin and actin in the motility assay. Ultimately, the mathematical models are adjusted to experimental results, thus determining the parameters of the mechanical interaction for different conditions and combinations of contractile proteins.