Omoto, Jaison J. (2012-2015)


Jaison is in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology.  He joined the training program in 2012. His research mentor is Dr. Volker Hartenstein.  He received a B.S. degree in 2008 from Cal Poly Pomona.

Mentor: Dr. Volker Hartenstein

Research project:


Glia represent a major cellular constituent of invertebrate and vertebrate nervous systems. Accumulating evidence suggests an active role for glia in nearly every aspect of proper nervous system development, function, and maintenance. Recently, several molecularly and morphologically distinct glial subtypes have been identified in Drosophila. These heterogeneous glial subtypes, through their diverse morphologies, appear to fulfill evolutionarily conserved functions akin to vertebrate glial subtypes. Thus, Drosophila, being amenable to powerful genetic and molecular manipulation, is an excellent model system to gain fundamental insight into glial cell biology. Of central interest to my research are the mechanisms which dictate the morphogenetic distinction between Drosophila glial subtypes. To address this, we aim to describe the basic development of glial cell subtypes in the Drosophila brain. In parallel, we are conducting an RNAi-based reverse genetics screen to identify candidate genes which regulate membrane process formation in glia subtypes. A thorough description of glial cell subtype proliferation, migration, and morphology will lay the foundation for a systematic characterization of candidate mechanisms governing glial cell development and function in the future.