Research in our lab focuses on one of the fundamental questions in evolutionary anddevelopmental biology - how signaling transduction pathways control the gene regulatory networks that specify and pattern territories along the major embryonic axes during early development. We are particularly interested in both the early regulatory mechanism(s) that activate the anterior neuroectoderm and the role of a Wnt signaling network we identified that appears to specify and pattern the anterior-posterior axis in a variety of deuterostome embryos (vertebrates, urochordates, cephalochordates, hemichordates and echinoderms).

Subject area: Evolutionary Genetics & Systematics Core

Research questions:

  • What is the early, broadly expressed regulatory mechanism that activates the anterior neuroectoderm gene regulatory network?
  • How do the Wnt/beta-catenin, Wnt/JNK and Fzl1/2/7-PKC signaling pathways interact at the extracellular, intracellular and transcriptional levels to pattern the early anterior-posterior axis?
  • Are the early regulatory factors necessary for activation of the ANE GRN and the components of the sea urchin anterior-posterior Wnt signaling network conserved in deuterostome embryos?
PhD, Duke University, 2005
BA, University of Texas at Austin, 1997