Research

The gonads of the fruitfly Drosophila are used as a model system to study the genetic mechanisms that regulate the behavior of cells during morphogenesis of tissues and organs.

 

The behavior of individual cells is the driving force behind morphogenesis. Cell shape, cell motility and cell-cell interactions, which can undergo rapid changes during development, determine the shape and organization of tissues and organs. What are the molecules that control cell shape and cell movements? To find and analyze factors that are involved in morphogenesis my laboratory uses ovarian development in Drosophila as a model system. The ovary of Drosophila consists of a regular array of tubes in which the eggs mature, and gene mutations that disturb the formation of the egg tubes cause sterility. Our work focuses on sterile mutations that specifically disrupt morphogenetic movements during ovarian development and oogenesis. We analyze the function of several morphogenetic regulators, including transcription factors and adhesion molecules of the cadherin family at the genetic and molecular level.

 

Current Projects

- Traffic Jam, a large MAF transcription factor controls gonad morphogenesis

- Genetic analysis of cadherin-based adhesion systems

- Ovarian morphogenesis