James W. Posakony, Ph.D.

Title
Professor of Biology
Department
Division of Biological Sciences
Institution
University of California, San Diego
Address
9500 Gilman Drive
4138 Bonner Hall
City, State, Zip
La Jolla, CA 92093-0349
Phone
(858) 534-6300
E-mail
jposakony[at]ucsd.edu
Website
http://www.biology.ucsd.edu/labs/posakony/
Research Field
Genetics
Award Year
1986

Research

The scientific interests of our lab lie in the areas of pattern formation, cell fate specification, and morphogenesis during development. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) of the adult fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has proven to be a particularly accessible setting in which to investigate these problems, and our research program is directed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control PNS development. We employ a variety of experimental approaches, including classical and molecular genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry, both to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of action of various proteins and to assess their in vivo developmental functions. At present our work is focused on two broad questions: (1) How do cell-cell interactions mediated by the Notch signaling pathway control alternative cell fate decisions throughout sensory organ development? (2) What are the specific molecular links between the mechanisms that specify cell fate in the sensory organ lineage and the execution of the cells’ individual differentiative programs?