Here are some of the current research areas in the Gomer Lab. For
more information and pictures click on the hyperlink for each area.
- Cell Number
What regulates the size of a tissue?
A secreted signal can also be used to sense the number of cells in
a group. If the group is too large, the signal can either stop
cell proliferation or, by increasing random motility and/or decreasing
adhesion, cause the group to break into smaller groups. Our
lab is working to understand how cell number counting works by studying
Dicty mutants with defects in their size-determination mechanism.
Two of these mutants are smlA, which forms more than the normal
number of aggregates and countin, in which the aggregation
streams do not break up and huge fruiting bodies form.
organism is made up of different cell types, but how does the system
sense the relative proportions of the different cell types?
Our research has found that by using secreted signals, cells can sense
the composition of a tissue that contains a variety of cell types.
When a Dicty cell starves, it signals that it is starving by slowly
secreting a cell density sensing factor, the glycoprotein conditioned
medium factor (CMF).
Dependent Initial Cell-type choice
an embryo starts growing, how do the cells decide what type of cell
to become (bone, muscle, nerve, etc)? We have found a simple
and elegant mechanism that lets a population of cells break symmetry
and differentiate into separate cell types.
- Exotic Star Binaries
Accretion disks are made of gas orbiting and
falling into a central mass. Disks are found around the central
massive black hole in a quasars. When a disk forms around a
star, it can condense into planets. In collaboration with Dr.
Keith Horne of the University of St. Andrews, we are studying
the flow of gas in accretion disks in binary star systems when the
accreing object is a white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole.
- TNF-a and cumulus
cell-oocyte complex expansion
- Ovulation is the process by which a fertilizable oocyte and
surrounding somatic cumulus cells (the cumulus cell-oocyte complex;
COC) are released form the ovary for fertilization. The
microenvironment and selected signaling events within the COC of
preovulatory follicles are essential for proper formation of an
extracellular matrix critical for ovulation. This area links to
videos showing that blocking the activity of the TSG-6 link module
disrupts normal COC expansion.
Click to view videos