Elliott Abrams, PhD
His research focused on understanding the molecular basis for altered cell division mechanics
in the early vertebrate embryo. Compared to average adult somatic cells, the unusually large cells of the early cleaving embryo require modified mechanics during division to overcome physical constraints related to cleavage furrow formation, chromosome segregation (mitotic spindle dynamics), and nuclear assembly. He performed a maternal-effect mutagenesis screen in zebrafish and identified two important mutant classes that disrupt the cleavage stage of development. The first class undergoes irregular cleavages prior to the maternal-zygotic transition (MZT), a critical period in animal systems where the maternal program shifts to zygotic control. The second class arrests development near the MZT and possesses varying degrees of nuclear/chromosomal defects. His work on a mutant identified in the screen, brambleberry, was published in Cell in 2012. Other mutants from the screen are open projects in the lab.
Megumi Hashiguchi, PhD
Her research focused on the mechanism of Dorsoventral (DV) patterning and Anteroposterior (AP) patterning during gastrulation. She showed that DV and AP patterning are coordinated temporally progressively. To show this, she activated or inhibited posteriorizing signals such as FGF, Wnt and Retionoic Acid in combination with temporal inhibition of BMP signaling which patterns DV tissues.
Lee Kapp, PhD
Lee worked on two independent projects, both based on mutants isolated from a genetic screen for maternal effect mutations. His first project involved a mutation in a highly conserved component of the Integrator Complex that is required to limit induction of the dorsal organizer. His second project was to characterize a mutant gene that causesa loss of the germline during the juvenile phase of development.
Daniel S. Wagner