EDI Member Profile: Sharyn Endow

Sharyn Endow

Sharyn A Endow,PhD (she/her/hers)
EDI Committee Faculty Representative

Sharyn is a Full Professor of Cell Biology whose laboratory works on microtubule motor proteins. She is Sansei (third generation Japanese American) and grew up in the beautiful Hood River Valley in Oregon. She attended Stanford University as an undergraduate and earned her MPhil and PhD at Yale University. Following postdoctoral studies at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY and Edinburgh, Scotland UK, she joined Duke University as a faculty member and rose through the ranks to tenured Full Professor. Sharyn’s work on motor proteins began with the discovery of a kinesin spindle motor that moved in the opposite direction on microtubules as the only known kinesin motor protein at the time, kinesin-1. Using chimeric motors and mutants, her laboratory reversed the newly discovered motor and defined the region that determines kinesin motor directionality of movement along microtubules. They also showed that there is a large family of kinesin proteins, many essential for normal spindle assembly and cell division. Work in her  laboratory now focuses on the mechanism of motor function and how motor proteins produce force in cells to assemble spindles and move chromosomes during division. In addition to her research, Sharyn’s laboratory is active in STEM outreach. Her initiatives include light microscopy outreach in Bangalore, IN and in the USA in collaboration with the Biophysical Society, a large international scientific society founded to promote biophysics. Her shared goals with the Biophysical Society include enhancing  K-12 science education and attracting young people to STEM fields.