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Lab ImageYuichiro Suzuki

Wellesley College
Department of Biological Sciences
106 Central St
Wellesley, MA 02481


Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: In Situ Hybridization, Antibody Staining, RNA interference(RNAi)
Research Description: The research in my lab focuses on the regulation and evolution of developmental plasticity. The work revolves around three major questions: 1) What are the developmental changes that led to the evolution of insect metamorphosis? The evolutionary origin of insect metamorphosis is one of biggest unresolved mysteries in insect evolution. To investigate the evolutionary changes that led to the evolution of metamorphosis, we are examining the developmental genetic regulation of metamorphosis in basal holometabolous insects (Tribolium castaneum and Apis mellifera). 2) How is phenotypic plasticity regulated at the developmental genetic level and how does it evolve? The organismsí ability to alter their developmental trajectories in response to environmental changes is called phenotypic plasticity, and this ability has been proposed to play an important role in adaptive evolution (West-Eberhard, 2003). To assess how plasticity manifests, we are investigating the physiological and developmental mechanisms underlying temperature-dependent phenotypic plasticity in the pigmentation of the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus. 3) What determines the rate of development in insects? Molting is a key developmental event in arthropods that occurs at regular intervals in Ecdysozoa. Yet, how the timing of a molt is regulated is not well-understood. Thus, we are currently using Manduca sexta and Tribolium castaneum to investigate the factors and physiological mechanisms that regulate the timing of a larval molt.
Lab Web Page:
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
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