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

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.

Graduate Students

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 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 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.

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.

Undergraduate Students

I’m interested in studying the complex relationship between space and life; more specifically how spaceflight affects biological systems. I am currently working with Dr. Joshi on two main projects. The first project involves the systematic assaying of various compounds stimulating the different modalities – taste, smell, spectral response, pH, salt concentration – for either attraction or aversion in tardigrades. The second focuses on studying certain tardigrade-specific proteins (Dsup and similar orthologs) that are associated with increased resistance to DNA damage.

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! 

I am currently assisting Caroline Ackley on running gravitaxis assays and understanding the relationship between genetics and C. elegans’ ability to perceive gravity. As part of the gravitaxis project, I have also worked on data visualization in R. This past summer, I collaborated with Ethan Ewe and Caroline to research and present on how atmospheric pressure may play a role in C. elegans migration behavior for the Academic Research Consortium.  

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.