Ferguson, Gabriel B.

Gabriel is a second year trainee and is in the Molecular Biology IDP.  His research mentor is Dr. Julian Martinez. He received a B.S. degree in 2007 from Johns Hopkins University.

Mentor: Dr. Julian Martinez

Research project:

I am currently investigating the role of the Hippo pathway in regulating hematopoietic progenitors in Drosophila melanogaster. The Hippo pathway is a highly conserved growth signaling pathway in Drosophila and mammals that functions by negatively regulating the transactivator protein Yorkie (Yki). When Yki is not inhibited it can bind to the TEAD family transcription factor Scalloped (Sd) and enter the nucleus to activate target genes. Our gene expression analysis has confirmed that Yki and other Hippo pathway genes are expressed in the lymph gland, the hematopoietic organ of the Drosophila larva. We have observed significant phenotypes when Yki or Sd are overexpressed in the lymph gland, and we are currently undertaking further genetic manipulations of the Hippo pathway to gain a more specific understanding of its role in regulating hematopoiesis. We are attempting to identify what Yki target genes are necessary for maintaining the hematopoietic progenitors found in the lymph gland while we also gain insight into the global regulatory network that is maintained by Hippo pathway signaling.