Magdalena Bezanilla’s lab investigates the role of the actin cytoskeleton in regulating cell growth and cell shape in plants. She has promoted the use of the moss Physcomitrella patens because of its ability to undergo homologous recombination, a trait that, among land plants, is unique to Physcomitrella. Her lab has developed numerous other tools that have allowed them to understand the molecular basis of cell growth in plants.
Bezanilla began her university studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a physics undergraduate. She changed her focus as a graduate student and received her PhD in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She was introduced to the study of moss as a post-doctoral fellow with Ralph Quatrano at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2005, Bezanilla joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where she was Professor of Biology until 2017. She recently moved to Dartmouth College where she is E.E. Just Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Bezanilla had received numerous awards for her contributions to cell biology including the Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation, the American Society for Cell Biology Women in Cell Biology Junior Career Recognition Award and the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
Learn more about Bezanilla’s research here.