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Cell and Molecular Biology

Cryptosporidium: molecular genetics for an important parasite

10% of global child mortality is due to diarrheal disease. We now understand the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium to be a leading cause of this burden with a particular grave impact on malnourished infants and toddlers. Boris Striepen’s laboratory has pioneered molecular genetics for this previously intractable pathogen. The lab uses genetics and genomics to understand fundamental parasite cell and molecular biology.

Regulation of Drosophila visual system development by juvenile hormone

Metamorphosis of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is regulated by two hormones, ecdysone and juvenile hormone (JH). The developing eye and optic lobe (OL) present a unique challenge to this hormonal control because the eye forms progressively over a two day period and the resulting wave of photoreceptor ingrowth directs a corresponding wave of neural organization to the underlying OL. These waves of development occur during phasic pulses of both ecdysone and JH.

Neuronal lineages: a key to understanding nervous system function and evolution in insects and crustaceans

In dominating most terrestrial, marine and aerial environments, insects and crustaceans have evolved complex behaviors controlled by a sophisticated, versatile nervous system.  Our work on the segmental nervous system of Drosophila over the past 10 years has shown that the insect CNS is built from a set of functional modules.  Each module is comprised of a cardinal class of interneurons that arises from a specific stem cell and that typically forms a particular component of the circuitry controlling either walking or flight.  The set of stem cells that make a segmental g

Cell signaling and the cytoskeleton in Giardia lamblia

The cytoskeleton is the structural framework that supports cellular form and function. More than a static structure, the cytoskeleton is a true nanomachine used for mechanical tasks across the biological scale, from organelles to organisms. The protozoan Giardia lamblia, is an intriguing single-celled parasite that depends on its cytoskeleton to latch onto the host intestine and maintain parasitism. Either due to its ancient origins or the selective pressure of its life as a parasite, Giardia lacks many cytoskeletal proteins once thought to be conserved in all eukaryotes.


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