Lab Research

We work at the interface between cell and developmental biology, focusing on the epithelial tissues that form the basic architectural unit of our bodies and of those of other animals.  We explore how the machinery mediating cell adhesion, cytoskeletal regulation and Wnt signaling regulates cell fate and tissue architecture in development and disease.

Biomedical science has twin goals: to explain the amazing properties of our own bodies and those of other animals, and to use this information to reveal the causes of disease and to suggest possible treatments. We work at the interface between cell and developmental biology, focusing on the epithelial tissues that form the basic architectural unit of the bodies of all animals, including ourselves animals. Epithelial tissues like skin, lung, colon, and breast are affected in many cancers. Cancer results from alterations in normal cell behaviors. To explore underlying causes of epithelial tumors, we need to understand the basic cellular machinery that links cell adhesion, signal transduction and cytoskeletal regulation during normal development. Read more about Cytoskeleton and Adhesion
 We focus on the machinery that modulates cell-cell adhesion and connects cell junctions to the actin cytoskeleton, thus shaping the architecture of epithelial tissues.  We also explore the machinery that transduces and regulates Wnt signaling, which helps determine cell fates.  Wnt signaling is inappropriately activated in colon and other cancers, while the cell adhesion machinery is inactivated in most metastatic tumors.  We study these processes in the fruit fly Drosophila, combining classical and molecular genetics with cell biology and biochemistry, and thus capitalizing on the speed of this model system and its synergy with vertebrate cell biology, and supplement this with work on cultured Drosophila cells and cultured normal and tumor-derived mammalian cells. Read more about Wnt signalling and APC 

Peifer Lab Poster 2017 summarizing our current research

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