The Van Wynsberghe lab studies how genes interact to regulate development of the nematode C. elegans. We study genes that are highly conserved in other organisms, including humans, and that when mutated cause developmental problems in C. elegans and disease and tumorigenesis in humans. Consequently our findings can help illuminate the complex genetic interactions necessary for proper cellular function in humans. We are particularly interested in genetic pathways that include small non-coding RNAs called microRNAs and the proteins that control microRNA production. Much of our research focuses on homologs of the circadian clock genes, since we have previously shown that the period protein homolog LIN-42 acts as a transcriptional repressor to regulate both coding genes and non-coding genes like microRNAs, and that the period protein kinase homolog KIN-20 impacts LIN-42 expression and regulates microRNA biogenesis. More specifically, our research focuses on understanding 1) how LIN-42 is regulated by the putative kinase KIN-20; 2) how KIN-20 regulates microRNA production; and 3) how KIN-20 impacts development. To do this we are utilizing newly generated CRISPR-tagged strains of LIN-42 and KIN-20 as well as western blotting, immunoprecipitation, qRT-PCR, fluorescence microscopy, and other molecular, genetic and phenotypic assays.
Student should have successfully completed Biol182 in order to be familiar with terminology and basic biological concepts utilized in this research.
Number of Student Researchers
Applications open on 01/03/2020 and close on 03/11/2020