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image of neuron drawn by Ramon Cajal image of fluorescent neuron
 adapted from Ramon y Cajal Green, microtubules; blue, DNA; red, motors and microtubule associated proteins (MAPs)

When Ramon y Cajal made this exquisite drawing of a neuron, scientists did not yet know that the shape of these complex cells is in part determined by a network of polymers known as microtubules.  The Roll-Mecak lab combines biophysical and cell biological approaches to understand intracellular organization and movement, with a focus on the microtubule cytoskeleton.