Research

Overview

Previous work from the Prince lab has contributed to our understanding of Hox genes and hindbrain patterning, gene and genome duplications, endoderm regionalization, and pancreas development.  Current projects are focused on understanding collective cell migrations.

 


Kamil Ahsan

Kamil works on Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) mechanisms governing the migration of cranial Neural Crest Cells (NCCs). Cranial NCCs are a multipotent stem cell population that arise from the dorsal most portion of the developing neural tube, and invade many parts of the developing embryo to make different cell types. Particularly, his work focuses on the role of the PET-LIM Prickle1 zebrafish genes at specific stages during NCC delamination as well as migration. To investigate these processes, he is investigating the functional differences between Prickle1 genes and their interactions with core PCP modules and the early establishment of polarity in NCCs.


Ana Beiriger

Ana's work in the Prince Lab focuses on how cell migration events help establish neural circuitry. She is particularly interested in the collective cell migration of the facial branchiomotor neurons (FBMNs), which form the motor neuron component of the seventh cranial nerve. In zebrafish, a single cell known as the pioneer neuron is required for the successful migration of FBMNs. Ana is using light sheet and confocal microscopy to visualize FBMN progenitor divisions and determine how and when the pioneer is specified during development. Additionally, she is working on identifying the molecular differences between actively migrating pioneer and non-pioneer FBMNs using single cell transcriptomics.

   

Manny Rocha

  Manny is broadly interested in patterning and cell fate decisions. His work focuses on the regulation of cell fate specification in developing Neural Crest Cells. Specifically, Manny is exploring the role of the RE1 silencing transcription factor (REST) in Neural Crest Cell differentiation and fate restriction. 

 


Anita Ng

Anita’s research focuses on the roles of Cdh2(N-Cadherin) in the migration of FBMN through the zebrafish hindbrain. Cdh2 is a well-defined adhesion molecule that regulates the contacts between neurons in the nervous system and it also plays an important role in the Wnt signaling pathway. Previous work from the Prince Lab has established that Cdh2 is required for the proper migration of FBMN. Since Cdh2 is required for normal development early on and is expressed throughout the nervous system, one of the goal is to investigate the cell-autonomous role of Cdh2 by generating tissue specific knock out of Cdh2 mutants.

 


Violet Sorrentino

Violet is currently focused on the role of the Rcor genes during FBMN migration.  The rcors are corepressor molecules that assist with Rest-mediated repression of neural target genes, but their functions are largely uncharacterized.  She uses confocal microscopy to perform phenotypic analysis on three lines of rcor mutant zebrafish.  Violet previously explored the role of adam23a, a Rest target gene, during FBMN migration.


Eva Brotslaw

Eva is collaborating with Anita Ng in researching the mechanisms behind tangential migration in the facial branchiomotor neurons (FBMNs), a neuronal cell type present in the hindbrain of vertebrates. The FBMNs migrate during development posteriorly from their birthplace in rhombomere four to their final destination in rhombomere six and seven. Specifically, she is interested in the role of the protein N-Cadherin (Cdh2) in this process, which has been found to have several other crucial developmental roles in vertebrates. Previously, the lab has found that N-Cadherin depletion significantly affects FBMN migration. Eva is investigating the mechanisms of N-Cadherin interactions in the FBMNs in zebrafish and is using transgenesis and fluorescence microscopy to study the effects of N-Cadherin.