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Paul Dalhaimer

Associate Professor


Paul Dalhaimer was educated in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania (BS and PhD) and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Cellular, Developmental, and Molecular Biology at Yale University where he was a recipient of a Ruth Kirschstein NRSA fellowship. He joined the faculty of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Tennessee in August of 2009.

He has used computational techniques to study the actin cytoskeleton and semi-flexible polymers in general. Being interested in polymers, he has also developed (with co-workers) a drug delivery system that emulates the properties of filamentous phages and viruses. When loaded with the microtubule-binding drug taxol, the resulting carriers have been shown to shrink the size of tumors in mouse models. His laboratory is currently attempting to (1) discover new drugs or combinations thereof that interfere with cytoskeletal genes involved in cancer proliferation and to (2) target the drugs only to tumors using the delivery vehicles mentioned above.


Our laboratory is focused on two projects, 1) lipid droplet formation and distribution in eukaryotes, and 2) improving the efficacies of nanotechnologies for cancer treatment in patients with non-ideal metabolic conditions such as obesity. For the first project we use the model eukaryote fission yeast S. pombe. This organism is ideal for understanding the cellular role of lipid droplets in cells undergoing mitosis. For the second project we use a variety of mouse models of human diseases with a focus on leptin deficient mice and mice that develop white blood cell cancers. We use a combination of genetics, proteomics, and live-cell microscopy to make advances in both topics.


Post-doctoral Fellow, Yale University: Gene targeting and purification of Arp2/3 complex in fission yeast; Molecular dynamics simulations of actin and Arp2/3 complex; Reconstitution of actin branches at an interface.

PhD, University of Pennsylvania: Drug delivery vehicles; lipid droplet biology.

BS Chemical Engineering; University of Pennsylvania

Professional Service

AIChE (1998-present)

Awards and Recognitions

2005-2008 Ruth Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral-Fellow


  • Anozie, U. C. and Dalhaimer, P. "Molecular links among non-biodegradable nanoparticles, reactive oxygen species, and autophagy." Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, Jan 6 (2017) [Epub].
  • Meyers, A. and Dalhaimer, P.  "Signaling pathways for lipid droplet formation." Journal of Cell Signaling 2, 127 (2017).
  • Meyers, A., Weiskittel, T. M. and Dalhaimer, P.  "Lipid droplets: formation to breakdown." Lipids 52, 465-475 (2017).
  • Meyers, A., Coutry, K., Weiskittel, T. M., Pfiffner, S. M., Hettich, R. and Dalhaimer, P. "The protein and neutral lipid composition of lipid droplets isolated from the fission yeast, S. pombe." Journal of Microbiology 55, 112-122 (2017).
  • Quigley, K. J. and Dalhaimer, P. "Nanobiomaterials for cancer therapy." Nanobiomaterials. Editors: Sharma, A. K., Keservani, R. K., and Kesharwani, R. K. Apple Academic Press (2017).
  • Meyers, A., Panchio del Rio, Z., Beaver, R. A., Morris, R. M., Weiskittel, T. M., Alshibli, A. K., Mannik, J., Morrell-Falvey, J. and Dalhaimer, P. "Lipid droplets form from distinct regions of the cell in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe." Traffic 17, 657-669 (2016).
  • *Mannik, J., *Meyers, A. and Dalhaimer, P. "Isolation of cellular lipid droplets: two purification techniques starting from yeast cells and human placentas." Journal of Visualized Experiments 86, e50981 (2014).
  • Dalhaimer, P. "Lipid droplet organelle distribution in populations of dividing cells studied by simulation." Physical Biology 10, 036007 (2013).
  • Harris, B. J. and Dalhaimer, P. "Particle shape effects in vitro and in vivo." Frontiers in Bioscience 4, 1344-1353 (2012).
  • Long, A. P., Manneschmidt, A. K., Verbrugge, B., Dortch, M. R., Minkin, S. C., Prater, K. E., Biggerstaff, J. P., Dunlap, J. R. and Dalhaimer, P. "Lipid droplet de novo formation and fission are cell cycle dependent in fission yeast." Traffic 13, 705-713 (2012).
  • Pfaendtner, J., Volkmann, N., Hanein, D., Dalhaimer, P., Pollard, T. D. and Voth, G. "Key structural features of the actin filament Arp2/3 complex branch junction revealed by molecular simulation." Journal of Molecular Biology 416, 148-161 (2012).
  • Dalhaimer, P. and Pollard, T. D.  "Molecular dynamics simulations of Arp2/3 complex activation." Biophysical Journal 99, 2568-2576 (2010).
  • *Dalhaimer, P., Pollard, T. D. and *Nolen, B. J. "Nucleotide-mediated conformational changes of monomeric actin and Arp3 studied by molecular dynamics simulations." Journal of Molecular Biology 376, 166-183 (2008).
  • Dalhaimer P., Discher, D. E. and Lubensky, T. C. "Crosslinked actin networks exhibit liquid crystal elastomer behavior, including soft-mode elasticity." Nature Physics 3, 354-360 (2007).
  • *Geng, Y., *Dalhaimer, P., Cai, S., Tsai, R., Tewari, M., Minko, T. and Discher, D. E. "Shape effects of filaments versus spherical particles in flow and drug delivery." Nature Nanotechnology 2, 249-255 (2007).
  • Stone, P. A., Hudson, S. D., Dalhaimer, P., Discher, D. E., Amis, E. J. and Migler, K. B. "Dynamics of wormlike micelles in elongational flows." Macromolecules 39, 7144-7148 (2006).
  • Kim, Y. H., Dalhaimer, P., Christian, D. A. and Discher, D. E. "Polymeric worm micelles as nano-carriers for drug delivery." Nanotechnology 16, 484-491 (2005).
  • Dalhaimer, P., Wagner, O., Leterrier, J. F., Janmey, P. A., Aranda-Espinoza, H. and Discher, D. E. "Flexibility and loop conformations in irreversible polymer adsorption." Journal of Polymer Science B: Polymer Physics 43, 280-286 (2005).
  • Dalhaimer, P., Engler, A. J., Parthasarathy, R., Bates, F. S. and Discher, D. E.  "Targeted worm micelles." Biomacromolecules 5, 1714-1719 (2004).
  • Dogic, Z., Zhang, J., Lau, A. W. C., Aranda-Espinoza, H., Dalhaimer, P., Discher, D. E., Janmey, P. A., Lubensky, T. C. and Yodh, A. G. "Direct visualization of polymers in nematic liquid crystals." Physical Review Letters 92, 125503 (2004).
  • Dalhaimer, P., Bermudez, H. and Discher, D. E. "Biopolymer mimicry with polymeric worm-like micelles: MW-scaled flexibility, locked-in curvature, and coexisting microphases." Journal of Polymer Science B: Polymer Physics 4, 168-176 (2003).
  • Dalhaimer, P., Bates, F. S. and Discher, D. E. "Single molecule visualization of stiffness-tunable, flow-conforming worm micelles." Macromolecules 36, 6873-6877 (2003).
  • Dalhaimer, P., Bates, F. S., Aranda-Espinoza, H. and Discher, D. E. "Synthetic cell elements from block copolymers – hydrodynamic aspects." Comptes Rendus – Physique 4, 251-258 (2003).
  • Law, R., Carl, P., Harper, S., Dalhaimer, P., Speicher, D. W. and Discher, D. E. "Cooperativity in forced unfolding of tandem spectrin repeats." Biophysical Journal 84, 533-544 (2003).
  • Picart, C., Dalhaimer, P. and Discher, D. E. "Actin protofilament orientation in deformation of the erythrocyte membrane skeleton." Biophysical Journal 79, 2987-3000 (2000).

Selected Patents

Block copolymer worm micelles for drug delivery and imaging; D.E. Discher, Y. Geng, S. Cai, and P. Dalhaimer; U.S. Patent Pending 10/913,660

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