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Department of Physics, Willamette University


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Welcome to the Altman Lab!

The inside of a cell is crowded and highly organized. It is because of its ordered state that a cell is a dynamic and exciting environment. Molecular motors are the biomolecules that generate force and motion, and thus do the work that is necessary to maintain the cell’s organization.

Research in our lab seeks to understand how the molecular motor myosin functions in the cell by taking a two-fold approach. The first approach is to study myosins outside of the cell (in vitro). This allows us to reduce the complexity of the experimental system, but we must take the results from these experiments and extrapolate in order to understand how the motor actually functions inside the cell. The second approach we take is to study myosins inside the cell (in vivo). This means that the system is more complicated, with many other biomolecules complicating our experiment, but it also means that it is easier to understand the physiological relevance.

Lab Logo designed by Diane Jung and Tara Hickman

The Marketing folks at Willamette put together a video of our lab:

Altman Lab Open Door


  • 4/7/24 - Congrats to John for receiving Willamette's Institute for Continued Learning (ICL) Hanni Scholar Award!
  • 9/15/23 - Ella and John gave an excellent talk about their summer research at the SCRP 2023 Symposium!
  • 6/5/23 - Summer Research is off to a good start with John Campi and Ella Isaacson, who are both participating in Willamette's Science Collaborative Research Program (SCRP).
  • 5/21/23 - Congrats to Chris Chang, who just graduated!
  • 5/17/20 - Congrats to Diane Jung and Teddy Rose, who just graduated!
  • 11/22/19 - Tara Hickman and Diane Jung did an amazing job presenting their research at the 2019 Oregon Bioengineering Symposium!
  • 9/1/17 - We're off to the start of another exciting year with five senior theses from Theo Humphreys, Ellen Rumley, Kricia Ruano, Daniel Pekich, and Navi Hewage. Welcome back everyone!
  • 4/20/16 - Jacob and Marika did an amazing job presenting their senior theses! Check out pictures of their presentations on our webpage.
  • 5/17/15 - Congrats to the graduating seniors!
  • 5/1/15 - Elisa, Max, and Forrest gave amazing talks at the Senior Presentations with Linfield College!
  • 3/27/15 - Congrats to Elisa Ahern who will be an English Teaching Assistant in Germany next year through a Fulbright Grant!
  • 7/24/14 - Congrats to Rebekah Daniel for being named Second Team Capital One Academic America on the 2013-14 NCAA Division III Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Team! For more information, look here.
  • 5/19/14 - Congratulations to Cat Carragee, Rebekah Daniel, Jay Howard, and Bianca Nagata, who just graduated!