Bailey, Hannah

Hannah is in the Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology Graduate Program, joined the Quinlan lab in 2018, and joined the CMB training program in 2020.  She received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Otterbein University.

Mentor: Dr. Margot Quinlan

Research project:

The process of egg development, oogenesis, is highly conserved among animals and is crucial for producing healthy offspring. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has long served as a model system to understand aspects of egg development including intercellular signaling and mRNA localization. I am interested in understanding the role of the actin cytoskeleton in regulating the localization of mRNAs and therefore development. An essential component of a developing Drosophila egg is a cytoplasmic actin meshwork that persists during mid-oogenesis.

This complex actin network is built by the collaboration of actin nucleators, Spire and Cappuccino (Spir and Capu). We do not know how the composition, organization, stabilization, or removal of the mesh are controlled. The requirement of actin binding proteins in early oogenesis makes this a challenging problem. Further, we have been unable to visualize the transition stage, as egg chambers expire ex vivo just prior to the removal of the mesh.

My work focuses on developing methods to directly observe the mesh and study the underlying mechanisms that regulate its removal. I will further Drosophila oogenesis research by providing a new method for long-term microscopy based analyses. This work will also provide a greater understanding of the dynamic actin rearrangements that occur during development and can be used to advance our knowledge about these processes in other organisms.