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Top blue bar image Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology

Molecular Genetics

Dissecting the signalling pathways that orchestrate
the morphogenetic development of zebrafish embryos
in the Wagner Lab

The field of Molecular Genetics has revolutionized our current understanding of biology.  In the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Rice University, we employ the diverse and powerful tools of classical genetics, reverse genetics, genomics, biochemistry, proteomics, molecular biology and biophysics.  The research laboratories in Molecular Genetics seek to reveal the mechanisms and machinery involved in the regulation of gene expression and functions of gene products.  A variety of model organisms are used, including bacteria, yeasts, nematodes, plants, fruit flies, and zebrafish, to elucidate the fundamental processes of cell biology, development, physiology and behavior. 

Confocal images of propidium iodide–stained
root tips from 7 day-old light-grown wild-type
Arabidopsis from the Bartel lab

Faculty links:

Bonnie Bartel:  Molecular genetic studies of peroxisome biogenesis and functions in Arabidopsis; roles of auxin precursors in plant growth and development (lab home page).

Kathleen M. Beckingham:  Molecular genetic studies of calcium sensor proteins and gravitaxic signaling.

George N. Bennett:  Response of microbes to stress and use of metabolic engineering to generate strains with beneficial properties (lab home page).

Janet Braam:  Regulation and functions of calcium sensor proteins and cell wall modifying enzymes in plant growth and responses to the environment (lab home page).

Daniel Carson:  Expression and function of cell surface components involved in embryonic development and tumor cell models. Study of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan perlecan.

Mary C. (Cindy) Farach-Carson:  The role of extracellular matrix in the progression of cancer; the use of proteoglycans in the engineering of connective tissues.

Studies of the gene yuri gagarin in Drosophila melanogaster spermatogenesis from the Beckingham Lab


Michael C. Gustin:  Molecular genetics of signal transduction pathways mediating stress-induced transcriptional responses in yeast and Drosophila.

Peter Lwigale :  Molecular regulation of corneal development; Neural crest differentiation, corneal innervation and avascularity; fetal wound regeneration (lab home page).

Studies of touch-induced morphogenesis in Arabidopsis plants in the Braam Lab

Edward Nikonowicz :  NMR spectroscopy of RNA and RNA-protein interactions - correlation of structure, function, and dynamics; biophysical studies and engineering of RNA regulatory elements; small molecule-RNA interactions; biophysical and functional studies of tRNA base modification.

Seiichi P. T. Matsuda:   Recombinant biosynthetic approaches to natural product biosynthesis; directed evolution and DNA shuffling to generate new oxidosqualene cyclases; metabolic engineering to produce terpenes.

Michael Stern:  Signalling mechanisms regulating the timing of the Drosophila larval metamorphosis.

Charles R. Stewart:  Bacteriophage molecular genetics:  mechanisms of host-takeover during bacteriophage infection; mechanisms of bactericidal gene action.

Daniel Wagner:  Analysis of early development of the zebrafish embryo to determine the mechanisms responsible for the control and execution of vertebrate morphogenetic movements.

Weiwei Zhong :  Using the nematode C. elegans as a model to decipher gene interaction networks regulating development and behavior (lab home page).