- Current Lab Members
Current Lab Members
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.
Post Doctoral Researcher
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.
The creation an maintenance of a developmental axis allows tissues to be correctly placed, and is vital to creating an organism from the onset of oogenesis onward. I am investigating two independent projects about dorsoventral patterning in zebrafish. The first will characterize the temporal and spatial requirements for the localization of maternal mRNAs such as dazl and cyclinB1 in the oocyte, using new cell culture techniques and live imaging. I will also be characterizing the function and mechanism of Ints6, a gene discovered in our lab that acts to restrict the expansion of the dorsal organizer.
Integrator is an RNA-processing complex which is involved in the assembly of RNA splicing mediators called small nuclear RNAs. I am studying why deletions in a subunit of the Integrator complex leads to the expansion of the organizer, which is a conserved signaling center of the embryo, and to the expansion of dorsal and axial fates at the expense of ventral ones. This work seeks to identify a key role of RNA processing in organizing the developing tissues of the embryo.
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.
Fish Facility Manager