Lab Members

Our Staff

Kevin O'Connell.

Ph.D. - University of Massachusetts Medical School
B.A. - University of New Hampshire

Yan Liu, M. Sci

Our Fellows

Prabhu Sankaralingam, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Jason Pfister, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Jason received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Kansas and then went on to earn a master’s degree in applied cognition and neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas. He subsequently joined the biology department there to conduct his Ph.D. research in molecular and cell biology studying neuronal apoptosis. His postdoctoral research is examining the regulation of centrosome number by a microtubule-remodeling factor known as SSNA-1.

Angelica Morales Cueva, B.S.
Post-baccalaureate Fellow

Angelica attended Molloy University in NY, and acquired her B.S in Biology, and Chemistry and Spanish as minors. Her role in the lab is to identify the role of SZY-5 in the centriole assembly process. Using a genetic approach, the lab previously identified SZY-5 as a novel regulator of centriole assembly. Mutations in szy-5 can restore centriole assembly in animals carrying the zyg-1(it25) hypomorphic allele. SZY-5 is a zinc-finger domain containing protein that localizes to nuclear puncta in the germline and embryo. Interestingly, szy-5 mutants exhibit a spectrum of phenotypes, strikingly similar to those observed in cgh-1 mutants. CGH-1 is a conserved helicase that functions in P body-like granules to protect a subset of RNAs from degradation and has also been shown to be required for microRNA function. We have found that cgh-1 mRNA and protein levels are reduced in szy-5 mutants and that a cgh-1 loss-of-function mutation can also restore centriole assembly to a zyg-1(it25) mutant. Moreover, disruption of microRNA biogenesis also suppresses the centriole assembly defect of a zyg-1(it25) mutant, suggesting a model whereby SZY-5 controls the expression of CGH-1 which in turn functions with microRNAs to control centriole assembly. Angelica’s role in the lab is to try to identify the relevant microRNA(s) and its target(s) involved in this process.

Zachary G Bell
Post-baccalaureate Fellow

Currently studying centriole integrity through means of a genetic screen to identify suppressors of a centriole stability mutant. Also, working to molecularly identify the zyg-10 gene, which is required for normal chromosome segregation, nuclear morphology, and egg shell integrity.

Last Reviewed January 2024