School of Medicine
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Professor of Genetics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe examine how cells communicate and function during fetal development. The work in my laboratory focuses on the establishment of specific cell fates using genomics to decipher interactions between chromatin and developmental signaling cascades, between genomes and rapidly evolving cell types, and between genomic copy number variation and gene expression. In recent years we have focused on the vastly understudied biology of the trophoblast lineage, particularly how this lineage evolved.
Associate Professor of Genetics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur lab studies how intricate control of gene expression and cell signaling is regulated on a minute-by-minute basis to give rise to the remarkable diversity of cell types and tissue morphology that form the living blueprints of developing organisms. Work in the Barna lab is presently split into two main research efforts. The first is investigating ribosome-mediated control of gene expression genome-wide in space and time during cellular differentiation and organismal development. This research is opening a new field of study in which we apply sophisticated mass spectrometry, computational biology, genomics, and developmental genetics, to characterize a ribosome code to gene expression. Our research has shown that not all of the millions of ribosomes within a cell are the same and that ribosome heterogeneity can diversify how genomes are translated into proteomes. In particular, we seek to address whether fundamental aspects of gene regulation are controlled by ribosomes harboring a unique activity or composition that are tuned to translating specific transcripts by virtue of RNA regulatory elements embedded within their 5’UTRs. The second research effort is centered on employing state-of-the-art live cell imaging to visualize cell signaling and cellular control of organogenesis. This research has led to the realization of a novel means of cell-cell communication dependent on a dense network of actin-based cellular extension within developing organs that interconnect and facilitate the precise transmission of molecular information between cells. We apply and create bioengineering tools to manipulate such cellular interactions and signaling in-vivo.
Professor of Genetics and of Pediatrics, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsGenetics of color variation
Associate Professor of Genetics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are an interdisciplinary lab focused on two major areas:(1) we seek to understand mechanisms of cancer growth and drug resistance in order to find new therapeutic targets(2) we study mechanisms by which macrophages and other cells take up diverse materials by endocytosis and phagocytosis; these substrates range from bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells to drugs and protein toxins. To accomplish these goals, we develop and use new technologies for high-throughput functional genomics.
Professor of Pediatrics (Genetics) and, by courtesy, of Genetics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research is focused on the diagnosis, discovery and delineation of rare genetic conditions with a focus of neurodevelopmental disorders. This work includes the application of novel computational methods and multi-omics profiling (whole genome sequencing, RNA sequencing, metabolomics). I additionally participate in an interdisciplinary project to develop induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models of genetic neurodevelopmental disorders..
Michele and Timothy Barakett Endowed Professor
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur lab studies the molecular basis of longevity. We are interested in the mechanism of action of known longevity genes, including FOXO and SIRT, in the mammalian nervous system. We are particularly interested in the role of these longevity genes in neural stem cells. We are also discovering novel genes and processes involved in aging using two short-lived model systems, the invertebrate C. elegans and an extremely short-lived vertebrate, the African killifish N. furzeri.