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Recent advances in probing the nucleus have made it clear that nuclear organization is far more complex and ordered than had earlier been appreciated and that it plays a major role in cell function including gene expression and cell division. Our research is directed towards identifying the molecules defining such nuclear organization, as well as the signal transduction pathways regulating cell cycle-specific changes. Using Drosophila as a model system, a combination of molecular and genetic approaches are being used to analyze genes involved in these processes.

These studies are done in collaboration with Dr. Jorgen Johansen.

  • Metaphase Spindles

    The microtubule-based spindle apparatus provides a conserved mechanism to segregate chromosomes during mitosis.  However, how this process is coordinated with disassembly and reassembly of nuclear structures during mitotic progression is poorly understood.  It is also not clear how cell cycle regulators and other diffusible molecules are localized and confined to the spindle region in the absence of diffusion barriers following nuclear envelope breakdown.

  • Jil Chromosomes

    The long term objective of my laboratory is to gain a molecular understanding of epigenetic processes that regulate chromatin structure and gene expression. Towards this end we have identified a novel tandem kinase in Drosophila, JIL-1, that localizes specifically to the gene-active interband regions of the larval polytene chromosomes, phosphorylates histone H3S10, and is enriched almost two-fold on the transcriptionally hyperactive male larval polytene X chromosome. In JIL-1 hypomorphs orderly interband regions of polytene chromosomes are disrupted and the chromosome arms highly condensed.