The candidate is currently a Life Science Research Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Eric Wieschaus in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. The candidate was awarded a PhD from The Rockefeller University for research in quantitative cell biology. During the Postdoctoral Fellowship, the candidate is transitioning to the field of developmental biology. The candidate will apply the quantitative and analytical techniques from previous research as well as further training in genetics and developmental biology to the study of the control of timing of cell behaviors during embryonic development. The NIH Pathway to Independence Award would provide necessary support to the candidate during this transition period. The award would allow the candidate to acquire new skills in genetics and developmental biology as well as to establish novel research directions. The candidate will benefit from the opportunity to take the graduate course 'Genetics of Multicellular Organisms'at Princeton University as well as the courses 'Eukaryotic Gene Expression'and 'Gene Regulatory Networks for Development'at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and at the Marine Biological Laboratory respectively. The candidate will study the molecular mechanisms ensuring precise temporal regulation of cell division through control of gene expression, signaling and protein degradation during Drosophila embryonic development. During the K99 phase of the award, the candidate will 1) Develop theoretical analysis of the integration time of signaling systems 2) Perform genetic screens and molecular biology experiments to identify regulators of Cdc25 transcription (rate-limiting activator of the cell cycle) 3) Determine the importance of regulation of Cdc25 protein degradation at the maternal-to-zygotic transition, a critical developmental transition.
These aims will be accomplished by combining genetics, embryology, molecular biology, quantitative live imaging and mathematical modeling. During the R00 phase of the award, the candidate will extend the research by determining the molecular mechanisms ensuring that Cdc25 is transcribed and degraded with high temporal precision and by analyzing signaling systems beyond cell cycle control. The candidate ultimately desires to pursue an academic career in research and teaching.
Our project addresses the fundamental question of how embryonic development is timed precisely. Such precision is required for normal development. Perturbations of temporal control of development are associated with embryonic lethality or birth defects.