Without cell migrations embryos could not develop, wounds would not heal and the nervous and immune systems could neither form nor function.

Castor (green), FasIII (red) and DAPI stained Drosophila ovariole

The Drosophila ovary is composed of ovarioles, which are strings of developing egg chambers. Each ovariole (shown here) contains precisely two germline stem cells and precisely two somatic stem cells.

Important clues to human lifespan extension have come from studying the natural ability of simple animals to enter into long-lived, stress-resistant states. We have undertaken the first systematic genetic analysis of Drosophila diapause and are deciphering the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. We epect to uncover novel and general mechanisms of stem cell preservation, fertility maintenance, and lifespan extension.

Cells face a continual struggle between life and death, fought at the biochemical level between pro-death and pro-survival stimuli. We recently discovered a surprising reversibility of the cell suicide process known as apoptosis.