My lab’s primary area of interest is to learn how cells communicate with one another during development. One group of signaling molecules that we study are the TGF-ß family of secreted polypeptides. This is the largest family of secreted "growth" factors with 33 members in vertebrates including TGFbeta's, Activin/Inhibins and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). These signaling factors influence a wide variety of cellular processes including tissue growth, differentiation, and death as well as metabolic and synaptic homeostasis. My lab is using genetic, molecular, biochemical, and computational methods to analyze how these factors influence biological processes.
Recently we have focused on 1) determining the mechanisms responsible for trafficking TGF-beta receptors to different locations in the cell (Peterson et al. 2022), 2) identifying targets of TGF-beta signaling that regulate cytoskeletal dynamics in developing tissues (Kim and O’Connor 2021, Upadhyay, et al. 2020, Moss-Taylor 2019), and 3) identifying targets of TGF-beta signaling that regulate metabolic aspects of development and sensitivities to different nutrient sources.