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Research

Summer 2024

Our group is interested in studying how the behaviors of individual cells contribute to the organization of tissues. This is an essential process required for the development, homeostasis, and regeneration of living tissues and organs. We use the fruit fly, Drosophila Melanogaster, as a model organism alongside genetics, microscopy, and quantitative analyses to ask questions like:

  1. How do cells communicate with each other during patterning events?

  2. How does cell shape and movement affect cell-cell communication?

  3. Are there rules that individual cells follow to make fate decisions during patterning?

  4. How do these processes contribute to the self-organization of the tissue?

We have several NIH-funded projects that address these questions through:

1. Genetic screens for new regulators of peripheral nervous system organization.

2. Development of biomaterials approaches to modify cell-cell interactions at mesoscale.

3. Investigation of the transcription-dependent and -independent mechanisms regulating cell morphology during patterning.

4. Development of multi-scale mathematical models (protein scale to tissue scale) that will allow us to investigate the important features of sub-cellular signaling and cell-level dynamics for tissue organization.

Microscope

Recent publications

For all pubs, click here

Myosin XV is a negative regulator of signaling filopodia during long-range lateral inhibition

In this study, we show that Myosin XV acts to negatively regulate signaling filopodia, as well as promote the ability of signaling filopodia to engage in long-range Notch signaling.

November 2023

Scabrous is distributed via signaling filopodia to modulate Notch response during bristle patterning in Drosophila

We show that Scabrous is primarily distributed basally, within the range of signaling filopodia extension. We show that signaling filopodia are required for the distribution of Scabrous protein during sensory bristle patterning stages. We show that the Notch response of epithelial cells is sensitive to the level of Scabrous protein being expressed by the sensory bristle precursor cell. 

September 2023

Modeling collective cell behavior in cancer: Perspectives from an interdisciplinary conversation

This commentary was a result of a week long interdisciplinary discussion facilitated by the NCI Innovation Lab

April 2023

Talking to your neighbors across scales: Long-distance Notch signaling during patterning

In this review, we summarize the theoretical and experimental evidence for mechanisms that modify the scale of Notch-mediated lateral inhibition. We focus on how cell protrusions, in addition to other cell behaviors like proliferation and neighbor exchange, allow for Notch signaling to both extend lateral inhibition beyond nearest neighbors and impact the timescale of patterning.

March 2022

Phosphorylation and Proteolytic Cleavage of Notch in Canonical and Noncanonical Notch Signaling

In this review, we discuss the role of postranslational modifications on both canonical and non-canonical Notch signaling. 

March 2020

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