Genetic dissection of Cell Death
Mutation analysis is used to study cell death (apoptosis) in C. elegans, the "petri-dish human." A Kenyon alumnus, Brad Hersh, learned genetic dissection with Lac reporter genes in our Bacteria Research Lab. He moved on to C. elegans at MIT, where he published his research with Nobel winner Bob Horvitz.
Gene products causing cell death, or apoptosis, play essential roles in development and longevity.
Other cell death proteins are activators or inhibitors of other cell death proteins.
We can identify gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutations in all the different genes and promoters involved in cell death, then analyze their combinations and phenotypes using logic based on the lac operon.