The Lab Next Door
Here on the second floor of Patterson Labs at UT, Austin, we are lucky enough to be in immediate contact with two other labs with similar interests. Together, this research group combines molecular genetics, biochemistry, and extensive imaging in Drosophila, Xenopus and zebrafish to approach problems at the interface of developmental and cell biology. The resources in our group include three confocal microscopes, several fluorescent stereoscopes and compound scopes, extensive image analysis software, histology equipment, and soon will include a cell culture facility. We also have the Patterson Labs Core Facility just nearby on the second floor, allowing quick access to centrifuges, ultrafuges, gel imagers, scintillation counter, and other equipment. The group, comprising nearly 20 researchers includes postdocs, grad students, techs, and undergrads. The group is tightly interconnected and three times each year, students present their research to the group in a fomal setting called GrossSWIRLIES (Gross, Sisson, Wallingford Interactive Research Labs in Experimental Science). This interaction has already resulted in one joint publication between the Gross and Wallingford labs, and we expect that more such collaborations will follow.
The Sisson Lab:

The research in the Sisson Lab is centered on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling polarized epithelial cell formation in cleavage stage animal embryos.  The lab studies this process in Drosophila embryos using an integrated experimental approach that combines the advantages of genetics, biochemistry, and live embryo imaging.  Currently they are focused on elucidating the mechanisms of membrane transport and mRNA metabolism required for cleavage furrow formation, a special form of cytokinesis that forms the primary epithelial cell layer of embryos.

Recent Publications:

Monzo et al. (2006). Fragile X mental retardation protein controls trailer hitch expression and cleavage furrow formation in Drosophila embryos. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 103, 18160-5

Papoulas et al. (2005). The golgin Lava Lamp mediates dynein-based Golgi movements during Drosophila cellularization. Nature Cell Biology 7, 612-618.

Zarnescu et al. (2005). Fragile X protein functions with Lgl and the PAR complex in flies and mice. Developmental Cell 8, 43-52.

The Wallingford Lab:

The Wallingford Lab studies processes by which embryos acquire their final shape, including the coordination of cell fate decisions with cell movement. They are taking an integrated approach to understanding this process in chordate embryos. They combine molecular manipulations, time-lapse imaging, and old-fashioned cut & paste embryology to investigate molecular signaling, individual cell behavior, and tissue rearrangement. By considering all of these components and how they affect the final body plan, they hope to build a comprehensive picture of early embryonic morphogenesis.

Recent Publications:

Lee et al. (2007). Shroom family proteins regulate g-tubulin distribution and microtubule architecture during epithelial cell shape change. Development 134, 1431-1441.

Park et al. (2006). Ciliogenesis defects in embryos lacking inturned or fuzzy function are associated with failure of planar cell polarity and Hedgehog signaling. Nature Genetics 38, 303-311.

Park et al. (2005) Subcellular localization and signaling properties of Dishevelled in developing vertebrate embryos. Current Biology 15, 1039-1044.

The Gross Lab:

The Gross lab is interested in vertebrate eye development and visual system function.  For our studies we employ the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a model system.  Combining forward genetic screens with reverse genetic and embryological manipulations we hope to understand the molecular, cellular and developmental events that regulate eye formation.  Current areas of interest in the lab are the development and maintenance of the lens and retinal pigment epithelium, the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating ocular morphogenesis and the patterning events that generate positional asymmetries within the retina along the dorsal-ventral and nasal-temporal axes.

Recent Publications:

Fairbank et al. (2006). Shroom2 (APXL) regulates melanosome biogenesis and localization in the retinal pigment epithelium. Development 133, 4109-4118.

Gross and Dowling (2005). Tbx2b is essential for neuronal differentiation along the dorsal/ventral axis of the zebrafish retina. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102, 4371-4376.

Gross et al. (2005). Identification of Zebrafish Insertional Mutants with Defects in Visual System Development and Function. Genetics 170, 245-61.