Systems biology of interacting oscillators: Our lab studies the systems biology of interacting oscillators in budding yeast, where metabolic cycles interact with the cell cycle. We measure and perturb metabolic cycles and cell cycles in single cells to understand how and why these oscillators interact. We also study the interaction of metabolic rhythms, cell cycle, and circadian clock in plants through collaboration.
Evolution of the eukaryotic cell cycle: A horizontally-transferred viral protein (SBF) integrated into the G1/S regulatory network and eventually replaced the original transcription factor (E2F) in the ancestor of most Fungi without disrupting the cell cycle. Some early-diverging Fungi, e.g. Spizellomyces punctatus, have a hybrid regulatory network with both SBF and E2F transcription factors. We are developing Spizellomyces as a model organism to better understand the evolution and rewiring of the eukaryotic cell cycle.
Tools and methods to measure dynamics in single-cells: Transcription is stochastic and cell-to-cell variation in gene expression across a clonal population is a fact of life. We develop tools and methods to measure gene dynamics in single cells (where the action is happening) and, thus, circumvent the population-averaging and masking that occurs with standard bulk assays.