Current Research Projects 2005-2006

My research lab is interested in the general question of how genes regulate cell fate specification and morphogenesis during embryonic development. We are currently studying the role of an enzyme, jun N-terminal kinase or JNK, in activating the cell movements that are required to for the archenteron (larval gut) in the sea urchin embryo.



My students this year are Erica Wagner and Jason Hamberger. Jason is looking at the effect of JNK inhibitiors on the cleavage stage of development while Erica is determining when JNK is activated during gastrulation. Both Erica and Jason worked in my lab over the summer. Erica was supported by the Resarch Partners Program, and Jason was supported by funding from the Biology Alumni Association. Another senior, Alli McMullen, is working on a project that she initiated during her summer research internship at Virginia Commonwealth, looking for ethanol responsive genes in the mouse brain. Jason plans to enter dental school next fall; both Erica and Alli are applying to graduate programs in biomedical sciences.


Alli McMullen, sitting at the confocal microscope where she analyzes her mouse brain slides stained with antibodies to brain specific enzymes
Jason and Erica are working happily on their FAVORITE type of experiment, the Western blot.
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