@UT Austin

The Dickinson Lab


Cell Polarity happens when two ends of a living cell become molecularly distinct from each other. Cell polarity is crucial for proper function of almost every cell in the human body. We work to understand how cell polarity is generated in normal cells, and how it is disrupted in diseases including cancer.


We employ a multi-disciplinary approach including single-molecule biochemistry, genome editing, microfluidics, fluorescence microscopy of living cells, and quantitative image analysis. We work mainly with embryos of the nematode worm C. elegans but are expanding our work into mammalian cell culture systems. If the tool we need to answer a scientific question doesn't exist, we invent it.

Single-molecule fluorescence

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The lab is growing!

May 2020

We're excited to welcome new lab members!  Nadia and Yash are Ph.D. students who've joined the lab permanently, and Jordan and Sena are new postbac researchers - Jordan has been in the lab since the start of the year and Sena will be joining in June. More smart people = more cool science happening!

Dan speaking at Dev Bio Gordon conference and Worm Meeting

June 2019

Dan will be speaking at the 2019 Developmental Biology Gordon conference and, a few days later, the 2019 International C. elegans meeting.

Nicole and Alex join the lab

May 2019

We're excited to welcome two new lab members - Nicole Shi is a new graduate student and Alex Koh is a new undergrad in the lab. 

First paper from the lab now out in JBC!

February 2019

Our first paper, "Electron Microscopy Snapshots of Single Particles from Single Cells" has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This work was a collaboration with the lab of David Taylor.  Congratulations to Xiunan Yi (Spring 2018 Dickinson lab rotation student), Eric Verbeke (Taylor lab Ph.D. student) and Ivy Chang (Dickinson lab Ph.D. student)!

Dan speaks at SDB 2018

Dan will be presenting a talk at the 2018 Society for Developmental Biology annual meeting - including some of the first new data from the lab!

Naomi and Ivy join the lab

May 2018

Ivy Chang and Naomi Stolpner have joined the lab as permanent grad students.  We're very excited to have them on board!

A typical Thursday afternoon delivery

October 2017

It takes a LOT of boxes to start a lab.  Who knew?

Dan's paper published in Developmental Cell

August 2017

Dan's paper "A single-cell biochemistry approach reveals PAR complex dynamics during cell polarization" has now been published!  This paper reports an approach for analyzing the dynamics of protein-protein interactions in developmental systems, along with some important findings about how oligomerization of the PAR-3 protein contributes to polarity establishment. For more details about why this is important, see the research page.

Open for business

August 2017

The Dickinson lab is now part of the department of Molecular Biosciences at UT Austin. The lab is pretty much just an empty room at the moment, but we've got lots of exciting things planned. Thanks to everyone at UT for a warm welcome - I'm delighted to be here!

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