Department of Microbiology and the College
Mohammed Kaplan’s research has focused on the study of biological nanomachines and how they function, evolve, assemble, and disassemble inside intact cells at macromolecular resolution using cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET). Through the use of cutting-edge cryogenic electron microscopy, he has imaged the assembly pathway of the bacterial motility nanomachine, the bacterial flagellar motor, in various bacterial species, discovering novel components in this important pathway. In addition, he discovered for the first time that bacteria disassemble their flagella under different conditions like starvation. He has also used cryo-ET to image the life cycle of the microbial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, providing a mechanistic insight into this fascinating process and changing decades-long dogmas in this field.
His research has been published in journals that include Cell, Nature Microbiology, Nature Methods, The EMBO Journal, eLife, PNAS, mBio, Angewandte chemie, and Journal of Molecular Biology.
Kaplan earned a PhD from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, supported in part by a Rubicon postdoctoral fellowship from the Dutch Research Council.