Research

 
A unique, interdisciplinary approach
We study cell polarity using a multidisciplinary approach. 
  • We do most of our work with a carefully-chosen in vivo model system: the C. elegans zygote, which polarizes in a simple and stereotypical manner in response to known spatial and temporal cues.
  • We use high-resolution, quantitative fluorescence microscopy of living zygotes to study protein dynamics during cell polarization. To avoid expression-level artifacts, we work almost exclusively with proteins tagged at their endogenous loci.
  • To gain dynamic information about protein-protein interactions, we use a single-cell biochemistry method that Dan developed during his postdoc. Briefly, we lyse staged zygotes in nanoliter volumes and quantitatively measure protein-protein interactions using single-molecule pull-down. 
  • We test specific hypotheses by engineering targeted mutations into endogenous genes.