Work in my laboratory centers on understanding the molecular genetic control of developmental patterning in animals. In particular I am interested in the evolution of developmental gene regulation, and the ways that genes are regulated in functional networks. The research employs a variety of techniques to determine i) gene expression patterns, ii) functionally test genomic regulatory DNA for its role in controlling those expression patterns, and iii) use transgenics to manipulate expression patterns to examine gene regulatory networks. The principal study organisms are ascidians (sea squirts), which have a number of experimental advantages for this work, including two species with fully sequenced genomes. Sea squirts are primitive chordates, and findings in this animal may be directly comparable to those in their relatives, the vertebrates.
Expression in the central nervous system of a lacZ reporter transgene with regulatory sequences from the Pax6 gene in Ciona intestinalis.
For more information click the links, or contact Steve Irvine at steven.irvine@uri.edu or phone 401-874-9204.