Understanding Developmental Mechanisms in the Context of Metabolic Control, Stress, and Cancer
Our lab studies developmental mechanisms using molecular genetic approaches in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Major areas of interest include 1) the metabolic control of developmental growth and cell differentiation, 2) the responses of cells to various stress signals (e.g., hypoxia, oxidative stress, inflammation), and 3) how oncogenes affect cellular metabolism and signaling in vivo to influence cellular proliferation and differentiation. These areas are primarily addressed by studying the larval development of specific epithelial tissues (imaginal discs), as well as the lymph gland, a specialized organ that supports blood cell (hematopoietic) development. Studying these systems contributes to our understanding of various topics of broad biological interest such as stem cell biology, cell signaling, and context-dependent cell cycle regulation. Various projects are underway and several smaller, related projects are available for undergraduates participating in the HHMI EXROP program.