Principal Investigator

Regulation of development and differentiation; regulation of programmed cell death and cell division; mechanisms of tumorigenesis

Project Scientists

My research investigates the coordination between cell proliferation and differentiation using C. elegans germline stem cells (GSCs) as a paradigm. Research areas: Role of microRNAs in maintaining adult GSC homeostasis and buffering noise in the underlying gene regulatory network; Non-apoptotic roles of programmed cell death regulators during cellular growth, proliferation, and reprogramming.

Lab Manager

I participate in and support several different research projects within the lab while managing the day to day running of the lab.

Postdoctoral Researchers

For my thesis, I am investigating C. elegans graviperception using genetic tools and behavioral analysis. C. elegans is a fascinating model organism in neuroscience research because it uses only 302 neurons to perform a number of complex tasks. I am interested in how these networks develop consistently across individuals and the mechanisms they use to convey information such as the direction of gravity.

I am interested in the molecular mechanisms by which complex organisms, specifically the nervous system of complex organisms, survive extreme environmental challenges. To answer these questions, I use the extremely tolerant Tardigrade, a unique invertebrate clade renowned for its ability to survive, complete desiccation, hypoxia, the vacuum of space, and radiation 1000 times the dosage of other animals! I am currently pursuing three avenues of research in the lab.

My research focus is on gain-of-function screening in C. elegans. This screening is based on the Mos1 transposon and further combined with various inducible systems, including optogenetic, QF/QS, and the Gal4 system. The gain-of-function screening will be applied to studies in trans-organogenesis and longevity.

Graduate Students

I am an NSF GRFP Fellow in Joel's lab. I am currently working on a project that investigates genetic mechanisms by which C. elegans facilitate purifying selection with their mitochondria, decreasing the level of mitochondrial genome deficiencies passed on to their progeny. I'm also interested in research questions concerning interstellar biology  and how epigenetic landscapes are shaped by environmental stress.

My project focuses on creating a novel feeding assay to better research Tardigrades and their incredible resilience to a myriad of external pressures.

My current research focuses on establishing the role of caspases in mitochondrial purifying selection. I primarily focus on the Programmed Cell Death pathway and the aging pathway and use C elegans as a model organism to understand the mechanism of mtDNA purifying selection in the germline.

Undergraduate Students

I am involved in various parts of the lab, working with Cricket Wood preparing media and supplies to support research projects in the Rothman Lab! 

The small roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans has a relatively short wild type lifespan (about 18-20 days) and an easily manipulated genome which has made it an attractive subject for longevity screening over the past four decades. These longevity screens, however, are limited in scale. I am working with Dr. Rothman and Dr. Joshi to develop a new method for longevity screening that is conducive to scalability and compatibility with other model organisms. This new methodology has the potential to identify mutants with maximum lifespans magnitudes greater than their wild type counterparts.

My project aims to observe and quantify Programmed Cell Death following transdifferentiation in C. elegans through strain crossings and fluorescent microscopy. Additionally, I am working with Tsunghan Yeh to identify reasons for the lack of universal transdifferentiation via gene expression profile analysis. 

Guided by Caroline, I am currently working on studying neurons involved in gravitaxis of C. elegans with genetic and behavioral analysis.

My research interests lie in neurobiology and developmental biology, and I am involved in two projects in the Rothman lab. I am working with Caroline on determining the mechanism of how C. elegans detects gravity. I also work with Molly on exploring the function of cysteine rich venom proteins in the tardigrade H. exemplars. In addition to research, I help Cricket and Emy prepare media and maintain inventory, and I am the primary curator of the lab’s tardigrade Instagram. 

My research focus is in Tardigrades, a close relative of nematodes and other arthropods. They are known for their ability to turn themselves into a tun state of extreme dehydration in a water-lacking environment. I am currently working with and directed by Dr. Kirk on creating transgenic Tardigrades that transcribe GFP, which enables better observation of these organisms' rehydration when they get sent to space in the future.