Omar Skalli


UofM Central Campus, Life Sciences 103A
Office Hours
By appointment
Dr. Omar Skalli

About Dr. Skalli

My laboratory investigates the role of the cytoskeleton on the shape, proliferation and motility of mammalian cells. The cytoskeleton is a highly dynamic cytoplasmic lattice assembled from interconnected filamentous and tubular components. In response to extracellular signals, these components reconfigure their organization and this drives a host of cellular properties and processes such as cell shape, cell motility and cell division. In addition, the activation of many signaling proteins is regulated through reversible interactions with cytoskeletal proteins. The main aim of my lab's research is to examine the respective contributions of specific cytoskeletal proteins such as synemin and a-actinin in the proliferation, motility and shape of brain tumor cells, including astrocytoma and neuroblastoma cells. These studies are performed using cell and molecular biology methods.

In addition, as Director of the Integrated Microscopy Center at the University of Memphis I have been involved in interdisciplinary collaborations focusing on: (1) determining how novel materials with the potential for biomedical applications affect the properties and behavior of cells and (2) examining the potential of new modalities of microscopy to generate insights on the physiology of cells and tissues.

My teaching directly relates to my research interests and includes a course on microscopy principles and methods for specimen preparation as well as a histology course in which students learn about the different cell types in the body and how the organization of these cell types into tissues specifies the functions of organs.


M.S. Biology, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Ph.D. Molecular Biology, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Post-Doctoral Fellow, Cell Biology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.

Research Interests

  • Cytoskeleton
  • Brain cells
  • Brain tumors
  • Cell motility
  • New microscopy applications