I study how eyes grow and develop in zebrafish with the hope of understanding the mechanisms that regulate stem cell proliferation. neural stem cells
One of the fundamental puzzles of developmental biology is how cells transition from proliferation toward differentiation. My research tackles this question by examining the cell behaviors of stem and progenitor cells in the zebrafish retina. The retina is a good place to address this topic because it is readily accessible and forms through a well-characterized order of events, including defined stages of proliferation, differentiation, and maintenance of stem-like cells. Zebrafish are good for this work because their embryos develop rapidly, are transparent, and contain a number of neural stem cell niches, including one in the retina called the ciliary marginal zone (CMZ). The major goal of my lab is to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms that encourage retinal progenitor cells to transition from proliferation toward differentiation, with the hopes of gaining new insights into the early stages of cancer and retinal degenerative diseases.
My Typical Day:
I meet with students, teach developmental and cellular biology in lectures and labs, plan and perform experiments, and think about data.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
curious, dedicated, adventuresome