Cell and Development Biology
Molecular genetic approaches are applied to the cell and developmental biology of model systems. Our interests cover a broad range of topics, including signal transduction, cilia, morphogenesis, cell death and autophagy, cytoskeleton, gene expression, cell division and polarity.
In our laboratory, we exploit molecular genetics, biochemistry, and genomics to understand how the cell coordinates the transfer of molecular cargo between internal membranes to regulate its growth.
The study of autophagy (= “self-eating”) has generated tremendous attention due to the recognition that autophagy is involved in multiple developmental processes and various human diseases including cancer.
The Hawkins lab uses C. elegans to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying asymmetric cell division.
Our laboratory use quantitative microscopy approaches to study the role of mechanical forces, cytoskeleton and membrane dynamics in the innate immune response to microbial infections and cancer.
Over the past dozen years, science has learned that a number of human diseases, including polycystic kidney diseases, Bardet-Beidl syndrome, and various forms of retinal degeneration are caused by defective cilia.