Maria Sckolnick, Ph.D.

Maria  Sckolnick, Ph.D.


I received my Ph.D. degree in 2007 in the lab of Sek-Wen Hui and Ari Sen at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. My dissertation research studied how stratum corneum permeability depends on lipid structures and hydration. After graduation I joined the lab of Roland Wedlich-Soldner at MPI Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany for a Postodoc to work on Actin cytosceletal dynamics in S. cerevisiae. In 2010 I came to UVM Department of Mol. Physiology & Biophysics.


HSRF 131

HSRF 131

Lab Group

A member of the Kathleen Trybus Laboratory

Research Description

1. Myosin Va is a processive motor protein that moves along actin, taking many steps without dissociating. Melanophilin is a cargo adapter protein that links melanosomes to myosin Va for transport along actin. In the absence of cargo, full length myoVa is in equilibrium between a folded, inactive and an extended, active conformation. Cargo binding has been suggested to activate myosin Va for transport. I use single molecule TIRF assays to understand how cargo and cargo adapter proteins like melanophilin affect myosin Va motor characteristics.

2. Mutations in actin are among those responsible for several types of diseases, including a condition called familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD). TAAD leads to instability in the aortic vessel which can result in sudden life threatening ruptures. To understand the underlying causes for blood vessel instability a large collaborative project in the lab studies the polymer biophysics of the actin mutants involved in this disease. I am interested in the changes in actin filament flexibility that are associated with mutations that lead to TAAD.


Highlighted Publications

Sckolnick M, Hui SW, Sen A.. Influence of DMPS on the water retention capacity of electroporated stratum corneum: ATR-FTIR study. Int. J. Pharm. 2008 350(1-2):138-44

Sckolnick M, Krementsova EB, Warshaw DM, Trybus KM. More than just a cargo adapter, melanophilin prolongs and slows processive runs of myosin Va. J. Biol. Chem. 2013; 288(41):29313-22

Clayton JE, Pollard LW, Sckolnick M, Bookwalter CS, Hodges AR, Trybus KM, Lord M. Fission yeast tropomyosin specifies directed transport of myosin-V along actin cables. Mol Biol Cell. 2014; 25(1):66-75.

Selected Awards

Fulbright scholarship 2003-2007

German merit foundation scholarship 2003-2006