Educational Background

  • Ph.D. University of Utah, 2002
  • B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991

Research Interests

During development of a single cell, the fertilized egg, is transformed into a mature organism. This remarkable transormation not only requires the generation of a large number of cells, but also requires that these cells organize themselves into the various tissues and organs that comprise the mature organism. To do this the cells of the embryo must undergo orchestrated changes in cell shape, cell migrations and cell rearrangements, all of which require remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. The actin cytoskeleton is compsed of a network of actin filaments that underlie the plasma membrane. Filaments grow by the preferential addition of actin subunits to one end. Remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton is achieved through the interplay of numerous proteins that affect the formation, continued growth or disassembly of actin filaments. This alters the geometry of the actin meshwork underlying the plasma membrane, which in turn dictates cell shape and infuences the ability of cells to migrate as single cells or sheets of cells. A long-term goal of my research is to determine how the different actin regulators cooperate to generate the incredible diversity of cell behavior seen in the intact animal during development.

Selected Publications

Gates, J., Nowotarski, S.H., Yin, H., **Mahaffey, J.P., Bridges, T., *Herrera, C., Homem, C.C., Janody, F. Montell, D.J. and Peifer, M. (2009). Enabled and Capping protein play important roles in shaping cell behavior during Drosophila oogenesis. Developmental Biology (in press). *denotes Bucknell undergraduate.

**denotes UNC undergraduate.

Gates, J., **Mahaffey, J.P., Rogers, S.L., Emerson, M., Rogers, E.M., *Sottile, S.L., Van Vactor, D., Gertler, F.B. and Peifer, M. (2007). Enabled plays key roles in embryonic epithelial morphogenesis in Drosophila. Development 134, 2027-2039.

*denotes Bucknell undergraduate.
**denotes UNC undergraduate.

Gates, J. and Peifer, M. (2005). Can 1000 reviews be wrong? Actin, a-catenin and Adherens Junctions. Cell 123, 769-772. Review.

Gates, J., Lam, G., Ortiz, J.A., Losson, R. and Thummel, C.S. (2004). rigor mortis encodes a novel nuclear receptor interacting protein required for ecdysone signaling during Drosophila larval development. Development 131, 25-36.

Grevengoed, E.E., **Fox, D.T., **Gates, J., and Peifer, M. (2003). Balancing different types of actin polymerization at distinct sites: Roles for Ableson kinase and Enabled. Journal of Cell Biology 163, 1267-1279.

**These authors contributed equally to this work.

Gates, J. and Thummel, C.S. (2000). An enhancer trap screen for ecdysone-inducible genes required for Drosophila adult leg morphogenesis. Genetics 156, 1765-1776.

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