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.

Graduate Students

I study questions of cell fate, with cell death being one of those possible fates. I am researching the role of PINK-1, a mitochondrial kinase, in apoptosis, as pink-1 mutants show a decrease in programmed cell death. I am also studying endoderm cell fate by examining the factors necessary to reprogram an already differentiated cell into a morphological gut cell and by examining possible connections between stress response and endoderm development. 

I’m interested in understanding how environmental stress is translated into epigenetic information which can potentially be transmitted transgenerationally. I’m also investigating variation in behavioural responses exists among C. elegans wild isolates.

Erik Spickard Portrait

I work on cellular reprogramming in C. elegans, and my research is focused on the question of how a single transcription factor, ELT-7, is capable of inducing cell fate change within the context of fully differentiated cells, and developing organs. I am utilizing a combination of bioinformatic and functional genetic approaches to uncover the molecular mechanisms behind this novel phenomenon.

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 am a third year biology student currently assisting Ethan Ewe with his project regarding C. elegans mitochondria.

Sihe and his fluffy white dog

 I study different mutant strains of C elegans and determine what mutations on different chromosomes could stop transorganogenesis in those worms.