Current Lab Members


Faculty

Mary C. Mullins, PhD.

Mary C. Mullins, PhD.

Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
 mullins@mail.med.upenn.edu
 215-898-2644


Post Docs

Manami Kobayashi, PhD.

Manami Kobayashi, PhD.

Postdoctoral Researcher
 shiyabako.mi@gmail.com

The Balbiani body (Bb) is a large mitochondrial-enriched RNA-protein granule observed in the early oocyte. Its formation and disassembly are important for mRNA localization, which is essential to establish the embryonic body axes and germ line. However, little is known about the genes regulating  Bb development and how its formation and disassembly are regulated during oogenesis. I focus on Bucky ball (Buc), a core protein of the Bb, and newly-identified RNA-binding proteins predicted to interact with Buc to understand the regulation of the Bb during oogenesis.

Jose Pelliccia, PhD.

Jose Pelliccia, PhD.

Postdoctoral Researcher
 jose.pelliccia@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

During early embryo development, components supplied by the mother regulate critical processes that occur prior to bulk zygotic transcription in the embryo.  If these components are absent, the embryo will fail to initiate development or fail to complete embryogenesis. The importance of this maternal control and its conservation in vertebrates motivates my enthusiasm in studying the maternal regulation of early embryo development. Using maternal-effect mutants from a previous screen performed in the lab, I plan to identify maternal factors and mechanisms required during the initiation of embryo development for proper egg activation and cell division—two critical events that are necessary for subsequent stages in development.

Joseph Zinski, PhD.

Joseph Zinski, PhD.

Postdoctoral Researcher
 joe.zinski@gmail.com


Graduate Students

William Jones

William Jones

Graduate Student
 william.jones@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

In all vertebrate embryos, the body axis is specified by a signaling center called the dorsal organizer. The organizer has the special ability to induce a second body axis if it is transplanted from the dorsal side of a donor embryo to the ventral side of a recipient embryo. Because the organizer promotes dorsal fates, it must be repressed to promote the correct balance of dorsal and ventral tissues in the embryo. I am studying a zebrafish maternal-effect mutant isolated in our laboratory, called ints6p18ahub, in which embryos exhibit multiple ectopic body axes, a unique loss-of-function phenotype in the zebrafish. The mutated gene, Integrator complex subunit 6 (ints6), was originally identified as a member of a spliceosomal RNA processing complex and was not previously implicated in dorsoventral patterning. In my project, I am to identify the mechanism by which ints6 represses the dorsal organizer. I expect that my project will reveal a novel mechanism of restricting dorsal fates in vertebrate embryos.

Jira White

Jira White

Post-Bac Student
 Jira.White@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signaling patterns the dorsal-ventral axis during early embryonic development. The dimeric BMP ligand brings together two type I and two type II receptors to signal. Recent studies have shown that dorsal-ventral patterning requires a complex containing two different type I receptors, Acvr1 and Bmpr1, yet the roles of the Acvr2 type II receptors in this complex remain uncharacterized. My project aims to explore the contributions that Acvr2 has in BMP signaling, and Dorsal-Ventral axis patterning.


Technicians

Amy Kugath

Amy Kugath

Research Technician
 akugath@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Allison Clara Lastra

Allison Clara Lastra

Research Technician
 Allison.Lastra@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Billy Vought

Billy Vought

Research Technician
 billybolo@hotmail.com

Mona Finch-Stephen

Mona Finch-Stephen

Fish Facility Manager
 finchc@pennmedicine.upenn.edu