You are here

Genetics and Genomics

Can cells walk & chew gum at the same time? Understanding how cells build tubes that fold and still function.

The study of cell shape has taught us many lessons about cellular function; however, we are just beginning to understand how this basic attribute drives form and function at the level of multicellular tissues. The goal of my research program is to uncover the emergent properties that cells use to generate and maintain higher-order tissue structures.

Retracing the evolutionary steps towards symbiosis

The biosphere is a network of interacting species that connects organisms across all scales, from microbes to mammals. Knowledge of the mechanisms underlying these relationships, and the evolutionary forces that shape them, is fragmentary. My lab has pioneered the study of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) as a model clade to break open basic problems in organismal interactions. Most of the >66,000 known rove beetle species are free-living predators, found in leaf litter and soil habitats spanning the globe.

Cellular Signaling in the Regulation of Giardia Cyst Formation

Many eukaryotes, pathogenic and free-living alike, encyst during their life cycle. How these various organisms sense their environment to determine when and where to differentiate is largely unknown. Our recent work on the intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia has demonstrated that intestinal bile and elevated pH deplete cholesterol rich lipid rafts from the parasite plasma membrane which upregulates cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) production and initiates encystation. I will present our recent work on the regulation of encystation in Giardia.

Why are there more of some types of species than others?

Biodiversity is uneven both across geographic regions and branches of the tree of life. In this talk, I will explore one possible cause for this pattern: variation in the rate at which new species form. Using a data set from lizards and snakes, I will discuss the possible factors influencing speciation rate variation.

Note: this talk was not recorded at the request of the speaker.

From models to non-models: exploring new science and new ways to pursue it

Basic scientific research is often geared towards the biology of humans or more experimentally tractable organisms that share biology with humans. However, evolution has run many experiments distinct from human biology resulting in groundbreaking innovations (CRISPR, GFP, PCR, optogenetics and many more). Here, I will highlight how studying a broader range of organisms can shift our understanding of the rules of life and impact our ability to engineer it.

What's bugging plants? Pest recognition by plant cell surface receptors

The plant immune system recognizes pests and pathogens and activates inducible defense responses. Our lab aims to understand how plants detect and respond to different classes of attackers, and how plants recognize the huge breadth of potential threats through a limited number of receptor-encoding genes. Our lens on immune recognition is to study the large set of several hundred receptor kinases, which can specifically bind diverse pest-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).


Subscribe to RSS - Genetics and Genomics