NSF Career Award to Professor T Sakamoto

Wayne State University biophysicist Takeshi Sakamoto, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Development (CAREER) Award – the agency's most prestigious award for junior faculty.

The five-year, total of $692,000 grant was awarded for Sakamoto's project entitled "Determine the mechanical properties of molecular motor in vesicle transports." Vesicles in cells are transported by molecular motors to the cell periphery for secretion in response to various physiological and pathological signals. Zymogen granules are huge vesicles (~1 micrometer diameter) in pancreatic acinar cells for digestive enzyme storage and regulated secretion. How do molecular motors transport such large vesicles? What are the mechanisms motors use to enforce chemical energy to mechanical force? To answer these questions, he applies his state-of-the-art light microscope and imaging technique to understand the vesicle transportation system. Also, as a part of this award, he will develop a K-12 summer program for metro-Detroit area schools to understand light and microscope with hands-on projects. 

Dr. Sakamoto received his Ph.D. from Kanazawa University, Japan, and did his postdoctoral fellowships at National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda MD, before joining the Wayne State University faculty in September 2009.