It is my goal to develop a laboratory that offers expertise and training in the widest possible range of techniques as we pursue an understanding of the developmental logic of the single-celled protist: Tetrahymena thermophila.
The biology includes cell division, mitosis, and the cortical patterning uniquely conspicuous in ciliated protozoans, and sexual reproduction or conjugation including meiosis, nuclear exchange and determination of nuclear fates.
Our approaches include:

Genetics (creating and characterizing mutations that effect cell division and/or conjugation)

Molecular Genetics (identifying and characterizing genes whose products participate in conjugation and cell division)
Protein Biochemistry (purifying proteins and characterizing their roles in conjugation)

Microscopy (developing and employing state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy)
Proteomics (working with Douglas Beussman, Chemistry, to perform Mass Spectrometry on purified proteins in order to identify the parent gene

Bioinformatics (working with Robert Rutherford to explore the newly published Tetrahymena genome in search of genes that are orthologs to those identified in other organisms.
"Tinkering" This approach includes any of a number of ways of manipulating the Tetrahymena cell biology including drugs that block articular pathways or assembly processes, and physical manipulations such as electrofusion or mechanical disruption.  

Developmental stages of conjugating Tetrahymena thermophila

  • Characterizing developmental landmarks in the conjugation program

  • Mutant Gallery