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Susan Halsell
Contact Info

B.A. - University of Texas at Austin
M.A. - University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. - California Institute of Technology

E-mail -
Phone - 540-568-3909
Fax - 540-568-3333
Office - Bioscience 3016E

Office Hours

Courses:   Genetics and Development (BIO 224), Cell and Molecular Biology Lab (214), Scientific Communication (BIO 500) and Scientific Presentations (BIO 603).

Research Interests:  Genetic and Molecular Characterization of Shape Remodeling during Development

Morphogenetic processes remodel the shape of an embryo, generating the complex forms and structures that characterize the mature organism. Defects in morphogenesis give rise to birth defects such as spina bifida. While the outcome of such morphogenetic defects is very apparent, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of normal morphogenesis remain unclear.

Work in my laboratory focuses on a key cellular aspect of morphogenesis, the generation of cell shape changes. Specifically, we study the signal transduction molecule, RhoA. My research exploits the powerful molecular and classical genetic techniques afforded by the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, (a.k.a. the fruit fly). Because the molecules and cellular processes that direct morphogenesis are so similar between fruit flies and mammals, these studies have broad relevance. Our investigations and characterizations of morphogenesis are important steps in understanding how to overcome birthdefects.

Selected Publications:   *undergraduate co-author

Bayer, C.A., Halsell, S.R., Fristrom, J.W., Kiehart, D.P. and L. von Kalm.  (2003)  Genetic interactions between the RhoAand Stubble-stubbloid loci suggest a role for a type II transmembrane serine protease in intracellular signaling during Drosophila imaginal disc morphogenesis. Genetics, 165:1417.

Halsell, S.R., Chu, B.* and D.P. Kiehart.  (2000) Genetic analysis demonstrates a direct link between Rho signaling and nonmuscle myosin function during Drosophila morphogenesis. Genetics. 155: 1253.

Halsell, S.R. and D.P. Kiehart.  (1998)  Second-site noncomplementation identifies genomic regions required for Drosophila nonmuscle myosin function during morphogenesis.  Genetics.  148:1845.