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College of the Sciences

Derek Ricketson


  • Ph.D., 2009, Biochemistry, University of Oregon, Advisor: Dr. Kenneth Prehoda
  • B.S., 2002, Biochemistry, Mississippi State University
  • A.A., 2000, Jones County Junior College

Professional Experience:

  • 2015 – present, Lecturer, Chemistry Department, CWU
  • 2015, Lecturer, Biology Department and Continuing Education Department, CWU
  • 2009 – 2014, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of California, Davis

Research Interests:

  I am interested in understanding how “protein machines” are assembled and regulated for controlled force production during complex cellular behaviors. My research focuses on two model systems:

  1) Drosophila non-muscle myosin II bipolar filament assembly during asymmetric cell division: Drosophila neuroblasts (neural stem cells) undergo repeated rounds of asymmetric cell division, giving rise to daughter cells with a distinct protein complement, cell fate, and different sizes. Non-muscle myosin II provides the force to cleave the dividing cell into two daughter cells. I am interested in the features and signals that regulate non-muscle myosin II assembly to promote asymmetric cell division.

  2) Mgm1-mediated mitochondrial inner membrane fusion: Mitochondrial inner membrane fusion is mediated by the dynamin-related protein, Mgm1 (yeast)/ OPA1 (human), which use assembly-stimulated GTPase activity to remodel membranes. In addition to mediating membrane fusion, Mgm1 organizes the structure of the inner membrane and is required for mitochondrial genome maintenance. I am interested in the features of Mgm1 that are responsible for its various activities, and how Mgm1 is coordinated with other membrane processes to maintain a functional mitochondrial network.


  • Connell M, Cabernard C, Ricketson D, Doe CQ, Prehoda KE. (2011) Asymmetric cortical       extension shifts cleavage furrow position in Drosophila neuroblasts. Mol Biol Cell             22(22):4220-6.
  • Ricketson D, Johnston CA, Prehoda KE. (2010) Multiple tail domain interactions stabilize   nonmuscle myosin II bipolar filaments. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(49):20964-9.
  • Liu SL, Fewkes N, Ricketson D, Penkert RR, Prehoda KE. (2008) Filament-dependent and - independent localization modes of Drosophila non-muscle myosin II. J Biol Chem 283(1):380-7.
  • Ricketson D, Hostick U, Fang L, Yamamoto KR, Darimont BD. (2007) A conformational switch in the ligand-binding domain regulates the dependence of the glucocorticoid receptor on Hsp90. J Mol Biol 368(3):729-41.
  • Fang L, Ricketson D, Getubig L, Darimont B. (2006) Unliganded and hormone-bound glucocorticoid receptors interact with distinct hydrophobic sites in the Hsp90 C-terminal domain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 103(49):18487-

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