Chun Wai Kwan - Graduate Student
I am interested in evo-devo, especially the developmental processes that underlie evolution of body morphologies. In my project, I study the evolution of extraembryonic tissues in Diptera which exhibit a dramatic reorganization, during which the amnion and serosa merged into a single tissue, called the amnioserosa shortly before the early radiation of extant Schizophora (Drosophila). Currently, I am developing molecular models for developmental specification and evolutionary reorganization of extraembryonic tissue in Megaselia.
Yoseop Yoon - Graduate Student
It is known that important developmental mechanisms are usually conserved among animals. However, one notable exception is the mechanism for specifying the anterior-to-posterior (AP) axis in dipteran (true fly) embryos. A recent study from our lab has shown that the vinegar fly Drosopila melanogaster and the midge Chironomus riparius use different, unrelated genes to specify the AP axis during early embryogenesis. To further investigate the evolutionary flexibility in such process, I developed functional experimental systems for the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata and the black soldier fly Hermetia illuecens and characterizng the role of a potential anterior determinants. My ultimate goal is to characterize the condition that drives such "developmental systems drift" and its consequences in phenotypic evolution of animals.
Danny Chen - Undergraduate Student
Evan Dong - High School Student
Claudia Vacca - High School Student (International visiting program)