Projects in the lab
We use Drosophila molecular genetics to understand:

  • how brain wiring proteins work at the molecular level.
  • how brain structures and neural circuits form.
  • how the brain generates sufficient protein diversity to specify its numerous synaptic connections - focus on alternative splicing.
  • how cell surface proteins regulate synaptic physiology.

We also use flies to model human disease processes. ALS is our current focus.

  • Modelling neurodegeneration in the fly eye using candidate ALS risk factors.
  • Studying how ALS risk factors affect motor neuron morphology, synaptic makeup and physiology.

 

Lab work flow and techniques
We use molecular biology to manipulate genes or the genome, perform genetics to generate animals of the appropriate genotype and then score the resulting phenotypes using confocal microscopy, electrophysiology or external phenotypes in the fly.

  • CRISPR
  • RNAi
  • Cell-specific overexpression
  • Mosaic experiments (single cells, rather than the entire organism, manipulated)
  • High resolution imaging
  • High-throughput screening in a whole animal model