Nociceptive somatosensory neurons are crucial for proper sensing and response to harmful stimuli. The class IV dendritic arborization nociceptors that project from the ventral nerve cord of the brain in Drosophila larvae are wrapped along their axons and cell bodies by glia and at the epidermal layer where their afferents terminate, they are ensheathed by epidermal cells. Despite their proximity and some characterization of the development of sheaths and their molecular markers, our understanding of the molecular players involved is likely incomplete. What parallels can be drawn from the mechanisms and molecular moieties of glial wrapping to epidermal ensheathment? Further, epidermal topography (sheaths, epidermal cellular diversity, and patterning) provides structural features that have important influence on the morphology of C4da arborization. What unknown epidermal molecules important to these structures regulate C4da neuron arborization?
Amy received a Bachelors of Arts in Biology at Reed College in Portland, OR in 2016. For her undergraduate senior thesis, she studied a virulence mechanism of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli with Dr. Jay L. Mellies. After graduating, she worked in the Mellies lab for 2 years further characterizing the mechanism of a plasmid-encoded virulence factor PerC. With a developing interest in eukaryotic cell biology, Amy took a job in the Reed biology lab of Dr. Derek A. Applewhite, where she studied the regulation of non-muscle myosin II in Drosophila S2 cells. In her time as a research associate and lab manager at Reed, she worked closely with undergraduates in lab and as a staff mentor for a journal club and a COVID mental health outreach volunteer.