Profile for Taviare Hawkins

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Specialty area(s)

Computational Methods and Experimental Biophysics

Brief biography

I am a native of Chicago and I spent the first half of my life in the Midwest. I attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, where I received my BS in Physics and a minor in African American Studies. I left the world of academia for 3 year, moved out east to the island of Manhattan. Where I became a Real Estate Asset Manager for the Resolution Trust Corporation. (It really is true that with a physics degree, you can do just about anything!). I then entered graduate school at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. There I completed two MS degrees, one in Computer Science and the other in Physics, as well as, a PhD in Physics. My graduate work was in nonlinear systems analysis and human computer interfacing. It was also at Syracuse that I became interested in teaching. I went onto postdoc at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in an experimental biophysics lab.

I have taught physics at Syracuse University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Mount Holyoke College, and now at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. I have more than 9 years of teaching experience. I have taught introductory physics, algebra and calculus based, in the traditional lecture style, as well as, in the more interactive workshop style. I have taught housewives to physics majors, premeds and pre-pharmacy students, as well as graduate students in the Molecular and Cellular Biology department. I have also taught advanced topics like, optics, modern, and advanced laboratory experiment.

Current courses at UWL

Fall 2019

PHY 203 - General Physics I (Calculus-based Mechanics taught in the Active-Learning style)
PHY 498 - Physics and Astronomy Research: Experimental Biophysics


Biophysics, University of Massachusetts -Amherst, Amherst Massachusetts (Postdoc)
Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (MS & PhD)
Computer Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York ( MS )
Physics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa ( BS )

Teaching history

PHY 103 Laboratory - Fundamental Physics I (Algebra-based)
PHY 125 - Physics for the Life Sciences (Algebra-based Lecture and Laboratory)
PHY 203 - General Physics I (Calculus-based Mechanics taught in the Active-Learning style)
PHY 204 - General Physics II (Calculus-based Electricity and Magnetism taught in the Active Learning style)
PHY250 - Modern Physics
PHY 311 - Experimental Physics Laboratory (Writing emphasis intermediate physics laboratory)
PHY 314 - Introduction to Biophysics: Biomechanics and Special Topics in Biophysics
PHY 453 -Topics in Physics & Astronomy: Biophysical Studies of Cellular Processes
PHY 453 - Topics in Physics & Astronomy: Introduction to Scientific Writing in Experimental Biophysics
PHY 453 - Topics in Physics & Astronomy: Advance Experimental Biomechanics
PHY 491 - Physics Capstone
PHY 498 - Physics and Astronomy Research
CHM 499 - Chemistry Research

Professional history

2019 – Present  Chair and Professor of Physics ( 2019)
2016 – 2019  Associate Professor of Physics (Tenured 2018)
2012 – 2016  Assistant Professor of Physics
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI

2009 – 2012  Postdoctoral Research Associate
Physics Department, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA

2008 – 2010   Mount Holyoke Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Physics, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

Research and publishing

My research involves working on problems that lie at the intersections of physics, mathematics, engineering, biology and chemistry. I am a biophysicist that uses the quantitative skills and methods I learned in physics to gain a better understand how living cells do what they do. Since this problem is very complicated and quite broad, I have focused my attention on the cytoskeletal filaments called microtubules. Understanding the mechanics and dynamics properties of microtubules in addition to how microtubule associated proteins work to fine tune these properties within cells, is the area where my research interests lie.

Selected Publications: 

9. K.P. Wall, H. Hart*, T. Lee, C. Paige, T.L. Hawkins, and L. Hough, "C-terminal tail polyglycylation and polyglutamylation alter microtubule mechanical properties," (In preparation).

8. H. Zhou, N. Isozaki, K. Ukita, T.L. Hawkins, J.L. Ross, and R. Yokokawa, "Nanometer-level localization precision reveals growth rate-dependent flexural rigidity of microtubules," (Under review).

7.  (Invited Book Chapter) D.R. Mitchell, T.L. Hawkins, and K.W. Foster, “Chapter 23: Microtubule Based Motility,” Cell Physiology Source Book (Under review).

6.  B.J. Harris*, J.L. Ross, and T.L. Hawkins, “Microtubule seams are not mechanically weak defects,Physical Review E 97 062408 (2018).  doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.97.062408

5.  N. Isozaki, H. Shintaku, H. Kotera, T.L. Hawkins, J.L. Ross, and R. Yokokawa, “Control of molecular shuttles by designing electrical and mechanical properties of microtubules,” Science Robotics (2017). doi: 10.1126/scirobotics.aan4882

Also published as: "Sorting of molecular shuttles by designing electrical and mechanical properties of microtubules," BioRxiv (2017). doi:

4.  M. Bailey, L. Conway, M.W. Gramlich, T.L. Hawkins, J.L. Ross, “Modern Methods to Interrogate Microtubule Dynamics,” Integrative Biology 1324-1333 (2013) Chosen as an iBiology HOT Article!doi: 10.1039/C3IB40124C

3.  T.L. Hawkins, D. Sept, B. Moogessie, A. Straube, J.L. Ross, “Mechanics of Doubly Stabilized Microtubules,” Biophysical Journal 104 1517-1528 (2013). (Cover Art) Chosen for Biophysical Journal Collection on Molecular Motors and the Cytoskeleton! doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.02.026)

2.  T.L. Hawkins, M. Mirigian*, J. Li*, M.S. Yasar, D.L. Sackett, D. Sept, J.L. Ross, “Perturbations in Microtubule Mechanics from Tubulin Preparation,” Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 5 227-238 (2012).

1.  T. Hawkins, M. Mirigian*, M. Selcuk Yasar, J.L. Ross, “Mechanics of Microtubules,” Journal of Biomechanics 43 23-30 (2010). doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.09.005

*Undergraduate Author