HFSP Postdoctoral Fellow
Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology & Tissue Engineering,
Marine Biological Laboratory
7 MBL Street, L110
Woods Hole, MA 02543
email: shalin.mehta [at] gmail [dot] com, mshalin [at] mbl [dot] edu
My research develops new microscopes and computational algorithms with broad applications in biology and metrology. My current work focuses on imaging molecular order in living systems at scales ranging from single molecules to sub-cellular assemblies to tissues.
During my PhD with Colin Sheppard at National University of Singapore, I developed optical models and microscopes for high-resolution imaging of live cells without an external label.
Living systems can be distinguished from inanimate ones by the presence of dynamic and ordered structures (such as DNA, membrane, cytoskeleton, and extracellular matrix) maintained at the expense of chemical energy. During my postdoc with Rudolf Oldenbourg and Tomomi Tani at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, supported by Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), I have developed new imaging and computational methods to reveal molecular order in living systems. We exploit a property of light not visible to human eye, but as fundamental as color and brightness, called polarization, to measure molecular order below the resolution limit of the microscope. My interest in studying molecular order in live cells, multi-cellular tissues, and developing embryos has led me to following fascinating biological questions that I pursue with my collaborators:
- Force transmission during cell migration - with Waterman, Mayor, and Springer labs.
- Cortical scaffolds and diffusion barriers formed by septin - with Gladfelter lab.
- Cell migration in 3D volume - with Robert Fischer at Waterman lab.
- Formation of cytokinetic ring - with Felix Spira and Daniel Gerlich.
- Zebrafish embryos' fascinating ability to survive extreme metabolic disruption via dramatic, but reversible, changes in cellular architecture and homeostasis - with Gitlin lab.