Quinlan, Margot E.


Quinlan Margot

Short Biography

Dr. Quinlan obtained her B.A. at Reed College in 1991. She then spent two years in Germany doing research at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg. She went to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania where she worked with Yale Goldman and received her Ph.D. in 2002. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF with Dyche Mullins until 2008 when she joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA.

Research Interests

We are using biochemistry, microscopy and genetic approaches to study dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton. We are currently focusing on Spire and Cappuccino, two proteins that collaborate to build an actin network essential for early body axis development in Drosophila. Combining an in vitro understanding of the mechanism of Spir and Capu with in vivo studies of oogenesis will provide insight into how the actin cytoskeleton is regulated and a broader understanding of cell polarity. In the Quinlan lab we are addressing four questions:

Molecular Mechanism: How do Spir and Capu collaborate?
Cell Biology: What role does the Spir-Capu complex play in Drosophila oogenesis?
Regulation: How is the Spir-Capu complex regulated?
Mammalian Disease: Is the Spir-Capu complex a polarity factor in other cell types?


Left: Domain organization of Spire and Cappuccino. Right: Model of nucleation by the Spir- Capu complex

Honors & Awards

  • Hanson-Dow Excellence in Teaching Award, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, 2022
  • Undergraduate Research Week Faculty Mentor Award, UCLA Undergraduate Research Center – Sciences, 2018
  • Faculty Fellows, UCLA Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, 2018
  • Academic Leadership Training Workshop – 1 of 38 national applicants selected, Cottrell Scholars Collaborative, 2017
  • Faculty Career Development Award, UCLA, 2014
  • Seaborg Alpha Chi Sigma Award, UCLA, 2013
  • Top 20 Women Professors in California, Statestats.org, 2013
  • Faculty Career Development Award, UCLA, 2012
  • Faculty Development Grant, Center for the Study of Women, UCLA, 2009
  • Alexander and Renee Kolin Endowed Professorship of Molecular Biology and Biophysics, 2008
  • Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, 2006-2011
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association, Declined, 2006
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Cancer Society, Honorable Mention, 2004
  • Predoctoral Fellow in Biological Sciences, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 1994-1999
  • Predoctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation, Honorable Mention, 1994
  • Summer Fellow, American Heart Association, 1991
  • Commended for Excellence in Scholarship, Reed College, 1991
  • Lifetime member, California Scholarship Federation, 1986

Representative Publications

Below is the list of selected publications.  For the full list, please visit here.