Our laboratory is interested in how black pigment cells, or melanocytes, develop and function. We utilize several approaches to better understand the biology of these specialized cells:
- Genetic/molecular biology approaches – we are characterizing several pigment mutants in an effort to find new genes critical for normal melanophore development and function.
- Embryological approaches – we use CRISPR and other injection techniques to understand the role of specific genes or tissues in embryonic pigmentation.
- Cell biological approaches – we conduct western blot and cell death assays to understand the function of pigment genes of interest at the protein level.
- Pharmocological approaches/drug screens – we examine the effects of pigment synthesis and signaling protein modulators to characterize the interacting pathways that work with our proteins of interest during melanocyte and silver pigment cell (iridophore) development.
- RNA seq analysis – we use RNA seq to better understand the impact of our pigment impacting mutations on global gene expression and cell pathway activation.