Sabine Petry, Ph.D is originally from Germany and studied Biochemistry at the Goethe University, where she became interested in structural biology. She performed her Master’s thesis at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt under supervision of Prof. Carola Hunte and Prof. Hartmut Michel (Nobel Prize Chemistry 1988). Sabine performed her thesis research with Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan (Nobel Prize Chemistry 2009) at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (UK) from 2003 – 07. She was involved in solving the first crystal structure of a classical translation factor bound to the entire ribosome, work that helped increase our knowledge of how translation factors drive protein synthesis in the ribosome.
In 2008, Sabine joined Ron Vale’s lab at UCSF as a postdoctoral HHMI Fellow of the Life Science Research Foundation, where she pursued the study of a less understood and larger molecular entity, the mitotic spindle. Her research focused on understanding how microtubule nucleation is regulated in the mitotic spindle, which is poorly understood. It led to the discovery of a new microtubule nucleation mechanism, in which microtubules arise by nucleation from existing microtubules. Branching microtubule nucleation helps explain many unresolved aspects of how the mitotic spindle is assembled, and raises new questions about its role in building the microtubule cytoskeleton of the cell.
The Petry Lab was inaugurated in 2013 and combines high-resolution microscopy methods along with structural studies to study how the microtubule cytoskeleton builds cellular structures. Sabine received the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the Kimmel Scholar Award for Cancer Research and the Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. She is also a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.