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Mechanical forces produced by condensin ii promotes DNA (blue) tethers at the nuclear envelope to pull Lamin (red) proteins and membrane to form intra-nuclear vesicular bodies. image by lita bozler.

Mechanical forces produced by condensin ii promotes DNA (blue) tethers at the nuclear envelope to pull Lamin (red) proteins and membrane to form intra-nuclear vesicular bodies. image by lita bozler.

The Bosco Lab has two major research interests:

One part of the lab studies learning and memory and inheritance of behavior.  We want to understand how social information is different from other information during the learning process. How is information learned via social interactions stored and maintained as memory? Is this type of memory affected during the aging process differently than other types of memory? We are also interested in understanding how neural inputs interface with germline cells: Specifically, we want to know if social experiences alter epigenetic information in the egg and sperm so that social experiences of parents can influence the behavior of their offspring. Do we inherit memory?  Do we inherit behavioral predispositions from our parents or grandparents?

Part of the lab studies how chromosomes and chromatin are organized in 3-dimensional space, and we want to understand (1) the biological function of how different chromosomal arrangements affect gene regulation and epigenetic inheritance, and (2) how tiny molecular machines move, stretch and condense chromosomes in order to regulate different 3D organizational states. We also want to understand how chromosome organization changes as a consequence of biological aging and whether these changes contribute to the aging process.

For more details click on the RESEARCH tab above.

the mushroom body of the adult drosophila brain is labeled with greeen fluorescent protein from the jellyfish (shown here in white). this structure is important for learning and memory in the fruit fly. we are interested in how this part of the brain stores information, how this structure changes as the flies age and how age impaired memory is affected by changes in mushroom body structure. image by balint kacsoh.

the mushroom body of the adult drosophila brain is labeled with greeen fluorescent protein from the jellyfish (shown here in white). this structure is important for learning and memory in the fruit fly. we are interested in how this part of the brain stores information, how this structure changes as the flies age and how age impaired memory is affected by changes in mushroom body structure. image by balint kacsoh.

Why use fruit flies for research?

Drosophila is a fruit fly that has been used as an experimental system for over 100-years. Multiple Nobel Prizes have been awarded (as recently as 2017!) to scientists who used Drosophila as their experimental system of choice to discover some of the most important secrets of life. How inheritance works, how our body-plan is specified in our DNA, and important molecules of the immune system have all been discovered by scientists using fruit flies as their experimental model system. What we learn from the humble fruit fly very often can be developed into new tools, new therapies and new ways to apply these tools to grand challenges of human health. Want to know more about the awesome power of fruit fly genetics and its real contributions to human health? We suggest you take a look at Stephanie Mohr's new book "First in Fly,"  or take your pick of over 1,200 review articles on "Drosophila and Human Disease."

It just makes economic sense!   Imagine trying to solve some really complex problems: Why do humans age and become frail or have problems with memory as they age?  How does the human brain work?  Why is it that 44-years after the "war on cancer" was declared in the US we still have people dying of cancer?  Obviously we can't do experiments on people, and so we start with experimental systems like rats, mice, fish, worms, fruit flies and yeast. What we learn from these models gives us important clues as to how human biology might work.  Fruit flies reproduce every 10-days, and compared to mice, fruit flies cost a tiny fraction to breed and maintain in the lab. So, it makes good economic sense to first do experiments on flies that cost 100's of dollars and take weeks to complete. These same exploratory experiments in more complex systems, like a mouse or human cells, cost thousands or tens-of-thousands of dollars and years to complete. Working with fruit flies not only is scientifically more efficient, but it also makes our valuable research funds go further. It is the economically responsible way to conduct biomedical research.

 

USE THE TABS AT THE TOP TO LEARN MORE ABOUT:

  • Chromosomes and chromatin

  • Genome Organization

  • Epigenetics

  • Learning and memory

  • Biology of Aging

 

LAB NEWS

  • September 12, 2019. Balint Kacsoh’s and Lita Bozler’s paper wins the 2019 PLOS Genetics Prize! Click here to read more about it. Congratulations Balint and Lita!

  • September 2019. Kamran Tariq wins a 2-year Autism Speaks Fellowship for his graduate thesis work started with Dr. Bryan Luikart. Congrats Kamran!

  • August, 2019. Balint’s neural circuitry paper is accepted to Communications Biology. Wow! How many pubs does that make?

  • August 2019. Marek Svaboda, an MD/PhD student, wins a 2-year Burroughs Wellcome Fund pre-doctoral fellowship.

  • July 9, 2019. Lita Bozler’s amazing paper on how flies inherit behavior through maternal imprinting of Neuropeptide F. Up to five generations of inherited behavior! Check out the paper at eLife, 2019 Jul 9 issue.

  • March 2019. Vibhuti Rana’s collaborative work with Victor Corces is published in Cell Reports. Congrats Vibhuti!

  • April 2019. Lita wins a Jane Coffin Childs post-doctoral fellowship. Congrats Lita!!

  • April 2019. Drosophila Research conference honors both Lita as runner-up to the Larry Sandler Award, and Balint for a Drosophila image award.

  • July 19, 2018: Balint Kacsoh's paper published in PLoS Genetics already makes a splash in the popular press. "Drosophila species learn dialects through communal living." To see the full story click here. To see a journal highlight click here. Congratulations Balint!