Beckerle Lab

Mechanisms That Control Cell Growth

Our research addresses the mechanisms that control cell growth and proliferation. Much of our research uses the fruit fly, Drosophila, but human and mouse cells and organoids are also in use in the lab. We use genetics to analyze the gene functions that control cell growth and proliferation during development, regeneration and tumorigenesis, and furthermore seek to understand how networks of genes and communities of cells in tissues function as integrated systems. Techniques in use in the lab range from classical and molecular genetics, to high resolution and live-cell imaging, whole genome gene expression analysis and RNAi screening.

Current Projects

Current projects in the lab fall in two areas. One set of projects focuses on the mechanisms of epithelial self-renewal in the intestines of flies and mice. A second set of projects addresses how G1/S progression – the initiation of DNA replication – is controlled by rates of cell growth and growth factor signaling, in Drosophila and human cells. For both projects to over-arching goal is to define new mechanisms involved in growth control that are relevant to basic paradigms in cell and developmental biology, and to issues in human health including cancer, inflammation, and regenerative medicine.