“To acheive great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time ”

- Leonard Bernstein -


How does variation in cell size impact key aspects of cellular and organismal physiology?

 C. inopinata and C. elegans have the same number of cells, but C. inopinata is nearly twice as long due to larger cell size. What could be the advantage(s) of having larger cells? Work by Dr. Stephen Kinsey shows that larger cells use energy more efficiently. A new collaboration between the Fausett and Kinsey labs aims to study the cellular physiology of these and other nematodes to better understand the impact of cell size on energy processing.

Background image from article by Vicky Hunt

Quantitative Trait Loci Mapping of Variation in the

Germ Stem Cell Niche

C. elegans' germ stem cell niche is a fascinating and elegant system that responds sensitively to the worm's environment, linking sensory and metabolic inputs directly with  reproductive output. This project aims to map natural phenotypic variation and plasticity in the size/activity of the germ stem cell niche to discover causal genetic variants. This work has been done in collaboration with Dr. Christian Braendle.

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What are the energetic costs of reproduction?

Caenorhabditis nematodes make a series of energy processing descisions throughout their lifecycle in order to ensure that they can survive and produce an optimal number of quality offspring. They do this, in part, because oocytes are expensive to produce. So how expensive is an oocyte? Can we artificially drive other  energy-intensive processes like proteostasis simultaneously with reprodcution? If not, why and are the constraints real or genetic? 

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