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Kristen Panfilio

University of Cologne
Cologne Biocenter
Zuelpicher Strasse 47 b
Cologne, NRW 50674


Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Sanger Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Antibody Staining, Sectioning for Histology, Epifluoresence Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, Time-Lapse Microscopy, Transgenesis, RNA interference(RNAi)
Research Description: Morphogenesis, the creation of form, involves precise organization of tissues to successfully construct the embryonic body. However, morphogenesis has only been studied in detail in a few systems, and it is unclear how conserved morphogenesis is at the level of cell and tissue architectures or at the molecular level. To expand the comparison from vertebrates and the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), our research uses two insect species, the milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) and the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum). The tissues we study, the extraembryonic membranes (amnion and serosa), perform a variety of movements as epithelial cell sheets, such as folding, fusion, and rupture. Although both the bug and the beetle exhibit the same overall sequence of movements, they represent the two main types of insect extraembryonic morphogenesis and differ in relative tissue topography. We address how the membranes form and how they later withdraw from the embryo. This involves quantitative analysis of live imaging (time-lapse movie) data to characterize the mechanics of tissue reorganization and functional investigation of key genes in the molecular control of these processes. Ultimately, our results will distinguish specific features from commonalities, addressing the overall question of the degree of conservation of morphogenesis. Key words: Evolution of development; insect extraembryonic development; epithelial morphogenesis; cell/ tissue architecture and mechanics; Tribolium castaneum; Oncopeltus fasciatus
Lab Web Page: http://www.uni-koeln.de/math-nat-fak/ebio/en/Research/Roth/Panfilio/panfilio.html
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
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