My lab investigates signaling mechanisms of neuronal development. We are particularly interested in studying the role of the primary cilium in this context. Primary cilia are specialized filamentous structures that protrude from the surface of most human cells including neurons and mediate transduction of all major signaling pathways. Due to their central role in signaling, primary cilia are required for development and tissue homeostasis in vertebrates, and cilia defects are causal to a large spectrum of genetic disorders called ciliopathies. One research direction in the lab is centered around identification of novel signaling pathways required for ciliogenesis using two powerful genetic model systems (C. elegans and D. melanogaster) and mammalian cells. A second direction is focused on deciphering how cilia interact with other cellular compartments (e.g. synapses) to shape neuronal properties. To address these questions, we use a combination of experimental approaches that include genetics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, and high-resolution imaging.
I feel honored to be a part of the WPI community and to contribute to science education of the younger generations in lab and classroom settings. I am excited to implement hands-on learning approaches championed by WPI in my classroom and to work with graduate and undergraduate students in my lab to drive forward research that is relevant to human health.