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We are investigating mechanisms underlying germline maintenance and accurate meiotic chromosome segregation at the molecular level. We are exploring meiotic chromosome dynamics, particularly, the interplay between changes in chromosome configuration/structure during meiosis, and homologous chromosome pairing, synapsis, and DNA double-strand break repair. We are also investigating the roles of histone demethylases in germline maintenance and double-strand break repair. Our studies combine genetic,...
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Research in the Dymecki laboratory explores the development and function of brainstem neural systems including: the serotonergic system, with its involvement in behaviors ranging from respiratory control to aggression; the precerebellar system, with its central role in coordinating locomotor behavior; and the hindbrain choroid plexus, as an organizing center during hindbrain development and as a source of cerebral spinal fluid. We study these areas in mice using a range of novel genetic, embryological and...
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We study the cellular response to genotoxic stress. We have uncovered a signal transduction protein kinase cascade that phosphorylates over 700 proteins in response to DNA damage and controls genomic stability. Using synthetic biology we also develop genetic technologies such as genome-wide viral libraries of shRNAs for genetic screening in mammals to identify genes important for cancer and growth control.
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 We study TNF-induced fate decisions in mammalian cells. TNF is particularly interesting because it induces both pro-survival and prodeath signals. Combining mathematical modeling and single-cell measurements, we exploit variability in response in a cell population to explore how these signals are integrated in time and space to control cell fate.
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Our focus is on "random" monoallelic expression, an autosomal analog of X inactivation.  Mechanisms of this type control genes coding for cytokines, immunoglobulins and olfactory receptors, and are crucial for the generation of cell diversity in the immune and nervous systems.  We have shown that this type of allelic choice occurs with many hundreds of human genes, creating an unexpected epigenetic diversity in cell populations.
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Animal genomes endow cells and circuits with the ability to form life-long memories.  How does a genome orchestrate this dynamic interaction of neurons with experience?  The genome responds to experience by unleashing bursts of new gene expression that rewire circuits to store long-term memories.  We are applying genetic, genomic, electrophysiological, and behavioral tools to understand this process.
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Dr. James F. Gusella, born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, received a B.Sc. in Honours Biology from the University of Ottawa in 1974. He continued his education at the University of Toronto, where he earned a M.Sc. degree in Medical Biophysics in 1976 and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his Ph.D. in Biology in 1980.
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The Harris laboratory is interested in the control of growth and proportion in the development of the skeleton.   The lab uses the zebrafish as a model system to probe the genetic basis of this control.  
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We are interested in the basis of cellular architecture – that is, how a cell gets its shape. For example, how does a neuron know how long its dendrites need to be to reach their targets? How do cells of diverse types coordinate their shapes in order to assemble an organ? We take advantage of the highly stereotyped development of the nematode C. elegans to identify the genetic programs that specify the shape of a cell and the contacts it makes with its neighbors.
Joel Hirschhorn, Ph.D.
We aim to understand the genetic basis of traits related to body size (obesity, height and pubertal timing), and certain common diseases (diabetic nephropathy and asthma).  We use association studies, informed by population genetics, statistical considerations and gene expression data, to identify genes that influence these polygenic traits in humans.