Principal Investigator

Image result for Caroline LaplanteCaroline Laplante, PhD: Laplante trained as a biochemist and obtained her Ph.D. in biology from McGill University. During her doctoral studies, she discovered an essential role for the differential expression of the cellular adhesion protein Echinoid in the polarized assembly of the contractile leading edge in the migrating dorsal epithelium during embryogenesis in Drosophila. Her postdoctoral work challenged commonly accepted notions about the cytokinetic contractile ring essential for cell division in animals, fungi and amoebas. She discovered that not one, but multiple myosins function to generate the forces necessary for cell division and characterized the distinct role of these three myosins during the assembly and constriction of the contractile ring in fission yeast. Laplante adapted high-speed Fluorescence PhotoActivated Light Microscopy (FPALM) to the study of live fission yeast cells. With this technique, she obtained quantitative images of the cytokinetic apparatus at unprecedented resolution. She discovered that cytokinetic protein assemblies called “nodes” are the basic unit of constriction of the contractile ring in fission yeast, and built a molecular model of the protein organization within the node.

Graduate Students

Jessica Martinez-Baird (Genetics Program, PhD candidate): Jessica got her BS in 2017 in Wildlife Health Science from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. Since graduating, she joined a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help develop genetic technologies for sustainable bioenergy. She is now a Ph.D student in the Genetics program at NCSU, and a Genetics & Genomics Scholar from the Genetics & Genomics Initiative (GGI) at NCSU. She is excited to join the Laplante lab to research the complex dynamics of cell division proteins and chromatin using super resolution microscopy. When not conducting research, she can be found learning new food recipes, out on a hike with her husband and dog, watching history documentaries, or learning how to knit.


Ángel D. Castillo Cordero (Biochemistry, PhD student): Angel got his BS in Biology with a minor in Genetics at the University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla in 2022. As an undergrad, Angel has research experience in conservation and restoration of mangroves and coastal dunes in Puerto Rico. As an intern, he spent a summer at Penn State University where he measured protein stability and substrate affinity on a tumor suppressor protein. He is now a Ph.D student in the Biochemistry program at NC State and a Genetic and Genomics Scholar. Angel is excited to join the Laplante lab and begin his research on the biochemical aspects of the structure of proteins involved in cell division. In his free time, he enjoys playing/watching basketball, video games, and cooking.

Research Staff

Kimberly Bellingham-Johnstun (Research Associate): Kim got her BS in microbiology at Oregon State University before moving to Raleigh, NC and getting her MS in microbiology here at NCSU. In our lab, Kim uses hsFPALM and confocal microscopy to study the molecular architecture of cytokinetic structures, like the actomyosin contractile ring. When not in the lab, she enjoys cooking and going on the occasional run.




Gershom Mathew (Research Assistant): Gershom got his BS in Biomedical Engineering at NCSU in May 2021. Gershom develops code to extract the dynamics of cytokinesis proteins at nanoscale resolution, as well as helping lab members with all their coding needs.




Brié Levesque (Research Associate): Brié got her BS in Biochemistry at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY before moving to Long Island for grad school at Stony Brook University. After grad school, she moved to Florida where she taught AP and Honors Chemistry at Naples High School. Brié is now a research associate in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at NCSU. She uses FRET based biosensors, single molecule super resolution microscopy and laser ablation to quantify crowding and tension in the contractile ring during cytokinesis. In her free time, Brié enjoys video games, cooking, and exploring the local hiking trails with her fiancé, friends and two dogs.



Zoe Tyree (Research Assistant): Zoe got her BS in Genetics and minor in Mathematics at NC State in 2022. She is from Winston-Salem, NC and in her free time she enjoys reading and hiking.





Undergraduate Students

Abby Scudder (Cell Biology Undergraduate Student): Abby is currently a junior at NC State majoring in Biology and minoring in Genetics and Sociology. She is from Swansboro, NC. She enjoys being a part of the NCSU Sailing Team, going to the gym, and eating ice cream in her free time.





Kaylee Lanning (Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Logan Bowling (Molecular Biomedical Sciences, Postdoctoral Fellow, NCSU)

Blake Commer (Molecular Biomedical Sciences, Postdoctoral Fellow, NCSU)

Sophia Webster (Physics, Postdoctoral Fellow, NCSU)

Annelise Thorn (Laboratory Technician)

Nirav Shah (Research Assistant)

Mohamed Moshtohry (Physics, PhD student, NCSU)

Christina Bruinsma (Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Rachel Szymanski (Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Sarah Hiscocks (Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Casey Anders (Laboratory Technician)

John Ravi (Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Andrew Ford (Applied Mathematics, PhD student, UNC Chapel Hill)