Science

Our Research

Our laboratory studies the mechanisms that regulate growth at the level of individual cells as well as the entire organism. We are interested in the growth that occurs during development to determine the eventual size and form of an organism. We are also interested in the mechanisms by which damaged tissue is replaced as a result of regenerative growth.To understand the way that growth is regulated in both of these situations, we conduct genetic studies in the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify genes that regulate growth, cell proliferation and cell death. In addition to identifying some of the key regulators of tissue growth in Drosophila, our studies have also helped identify genes that are mutated in human cancers.  
1. Growth  
 

Why does growth stop when an organ reaches its appropriate size?

Why do some organisms keep growing (indeterminate growth)?

What is the role of the Hippo pathway in organ-size regulation?

 
2. Regeneration  

 

What are the genes that regulate regenerative growth?

How does normal growth differ from regenerative growth?

Why can some animals regenerate damaged tissue while others cannot?

 
3. Cell Competition  
 

How can cells compare their growth properties with those of their neighbors?

How can cells eliminate their slow-growing neighbors?

What do the mechanisms that operate during cell competition tell us about organ size regulation?

 
4. Metabolism, Fat Storage and Energy Homeostasis  
 

How does an organism partition resources between growth and energy storage?

What are the metabolic characteristics of growth stimulated by different signaling pathways?

How does tissue overgrowth impact organismal metabolism?

 

 

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