Margot E. Quinlan

Margot E. Quinlan

Academic titles: 
Structural and Computational Biology
Systems Biology and Biological Regulation
Aging and Development
Boyer Hall 502
(310) 206-8064
Boyer Hall 510
(310) 206-7596
Short Biography: 

Dr. Quinlan obtained her B.A. at Reed College in 1991. She then spent two years in Germany doing research at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg. She went to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania where she worked with Yale Goldman and received her Ph.D. in 2002. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF with Dyche Mullins until 2008 when she joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA.

Research Interest: 

Molecular Mechanism |  Cell Biology  |  Regulation  | Mammalian Disease

We are using biochemistry, microscopy and genetic approaches to study dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton. We are currently focusing on Spire and Cappuccino, two proteins that collaborate to build an actin network essential for early body axis development in Drosophila. Combining an in vitro understanding of the mechanism of Spir and Capu with in vivo studies of oogenesis will provide insight into how the actin cytoskeleton is regulated and a broader understanding of cell polarity. In the Quinlan lab we are addressing four questions:

Molecular Mechanism: How do Spir and Capu collaborate?
Cell Biology: What role does the Spir-Capu complex play in Drosophila oogenesis?
Regulation: How is the Spir-Capu complex regulated?
Mammalian Disease: Is the Spir-Capu complex a polarity factor in other cell types?

Left: Domain organization of Spire and Cappuccino. Right: Model of nucleation by the Spir- Capu complex


  • Alexander and Renee Kolin Endowed Professorship of Molecular Biology and Biophysics, 2008
  • Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, 2006-2011
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association, Declined, 2006
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Cancer Society, Honorable Mention, 2004
  • Predoctoral Fellow in Biological Sciences, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 1994-1999
  • Predoctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation, Honorable Mention, 1994
  • Summer Fellow, American Heart Association, 1991
  • Commended for Excellence in Scholarship, Reed College, 1991
  • Lifetime member, California Scholarship Federation, 1986