The Parkhurst lab is interested in the actions of both maternally and zygotically contributed gene products that govern proper embryonic development in Drosophila. Building tissues and organs during embryogenesis involves a series of exquisite morphogenetic processes including precisely orchestrated tissue contractions, foldings and migrations. Many of the naturally occurring epithelial movements that shape the embryo during morphogenesis are similar to those employed in the wound healing response and to cell behaviors in tumor progression. Our lab uses developmental, genetic, cell biological, and molecular approaches to look at different regulatory mechanisms and pathways required for proper Drosophila embryonic development.
Our current efforts are divided between studies of: (1) molecular and cellular mechanisms of single cell and multicellular (tissue) wound repair; (2) actin and microtubule cytoskeleton dynamics mediated by the Rho1 small GTPase and its effectors Wash, Capu, and Spire; and (3) nuclear architecture and organization.