Patrick L. Williamson
Professor of Biological Sciences, Amherst College
Ph.D.: Harvard University Postdoctoral Training: National Institutes of Health
We study the mechanisms which determine the distribution of the various types of lipids between the two leaflets of the plasma membrane lipid bilayer, and the cell functions which depend on the resulting distributions. In the study of mechanisms, we are cloning the protein which generates the normal asymmetric lipid distribution, and attempting to identify the protein that rearranges that distribution. In the study of functions, we have been led to studies of lymphocyte differentiation and death, and the development and aging of red cells. In the course of the experiments, we use techniques of molecular biology (cloning and sequencing), cell biology (microscopy and fluorescent cell analysis), and biochemistry (enzyme assay and purification).