Our group is interested in studying how the behaviors of individual cells contribute to the formation of tissue patterns. This is an essential process required for the development, homeostasis, and regeneration of living tissues. We use the fruit fly, Drosophila Melanogaster, as a model organism alongside genetics, microscopy, and quantitative analyses to ask questions like:
How do cells communicate with each other during patterning events?
How does cell shape and movement affect cell-cell communication?
Are there rules that individual cells follow to make fate decisions during patterning?
How do these processes contribute to the self-organization of the tissue?
We currently have students investigating the role of Myosins in the cell shape changes that are essential for Notch-mediated lateral inhibition. We also are investigating the role of Notch interactors on pattern formation. We have plans to pursue collaborative experiments using mathematical modeling and tissue engineering strategies to investigate what factors help drive different patterns and how we can manipulate these factors to change the dynamics and output of patterning processes.
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.