Monday, January 30, 2012
Abstract: Cellular decisions ultimately rely on the ability to establish and maintain specific cellular states. However, the underlying dynamical processes that regulate cell fate commitment, stability and specification are often poorly understood. My research focuses on determining the underlying principles of cell fate regulation by examining the interactions between the cell cycle and the pheromone-induced mating pathway in budding yeast. More specifically, I developed a microfluidics-based single-cell assay to (1) show how a separation of time scales in reaction rates can result separation of function and (2) to show how yeast implement feed-forward regulation to produce a stable yet rapidly reversible arrest. In the future I aim to (i) uncover additional regulatory motifs involved in cell fate specification using yeast as a model system; and (ii) determine the extent of conservation of these motifs across eukaryotes.