Graduate Student


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Creation Date

Spring 2023


How do your cells know what to become after they are born? Hundreds of different nuclear proteins act as gene control switches, fine tuning the fate of every cell. Using fruit flies as a model system, our lab uses a technique to flip these switches on randomly and look for unusual new fates to appear. The image shows a montage of two fly wings on the same scale; the fine dark structures are wing hairs that project from the cell surface, and the diagonal structures are wing veins. The lower wing is a normal control fly. The upper wing has one nuclear protein over-activated, resulting in a wholesale change in the structure of the wing blade, including giant, disorganized wing hairs and thickened wing veins. Proteins identified in this manner are almost universally conserved from flies to humans, and thus shed light on our own cell fates.