Our lab studies mechanisms that regulate the normal and pathological functions of the nearly ubiquitous organelle, the cilium. This highly conserved cellular antenna, also known as a flagellum, requires coordination of the cell cycle, cytoskeletal dynamics, and intracellular trafficking for structural maintenance and signal transduction. Due to the role of the cilium in essential functions in nearly all human cells, abnormalities result in a wide range of diseases, termed ciliopathies. In fact, ciliary signaling is now understood to play a role in very common diseases such as diabetes and cancer and may provide new avenues for therapeutic intervention for these devastating disorders.
We use methods in molecular biology, cell biology, chemical biology and biochemistry to probe cilium structure and regulation in the unicellular green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, as well as in mammalian models.