Andrew Z. Fire
Election Year: 2004
Primary Section: 26, Genetics
Secondary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type: Emeritus
Our lab studies the mechanisms by which cells and organisms respond to genetic change. The genetic landscape faced by a living cell is constantly changing. Developmental transitions, environmental shifts, and pathogenic invasions lend a dynamic character to both the genome and its activity pattern. We study a variety of natural mechanisms that are utilized by cells adapting to genetic change. These include mechanisms activated during normal development and systems for detecting and responding to foreign or unwanted genetic activity. At the root of these studies are questions of how a cell can distinguish "self" versus "nonself" and "wanted" versus "unwanted" gene expression. In particular, we are interested in the roles of gene silencing processes in viral pathogenesis and tumor progression in invertebrate and mammalian systems.