Research Interests

My laboratory studies the mechanisms that underlie the proper segregation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis. We study five processes: (1) the pairing of homologous chromosomes, (2) the assembly of the synaptonemal complex bridging paired homologs, (3) the initiation of meiotic recombination, (4) the proper segregation of chromosomes that do not recombine (distributive segregation), and (5) the control of homologous chromosome segregation at the first meiotic division. The core of this effort has been and continues to be the mutational dissection of meiosis in Drosophila females. The development of molecular genetic and high-resolution cytology methodologies for the analysis of meiosis in Drosophila oocytes has enabled us to describe central aspects of the meiotic process in substantial detail. Specifically, we have characterized the structure and assembly of the synaptonemal complex and the role of centromere clustering in initiating the complex's formation. We have also identified proteins required for the initiation of recombination, elucidated the role of heterochromatin in distributive segregation, and defined several aspects of the structure and function of the acentriolar meiotic spindle. More recently, we have extended our efforts to include the study of meiosis in planaria.

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Primary Section

Section 26: Genetics

Secondary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology