Margarete Heck Research Group
Information on the research interests, projects, and members of Margarete Heck's Research Group.
Professor Margarete Heck
Personal Chair of Cell Biology and Genetics
A common thread throughout my scientific career has been the desire to understand the inner workings of the cell, with particular focus on the architectural organization of the genome, and its impact on function within the interphase nucleus and the mitotic chromosome. I have used Drosophila as a model organism, a genetically tractable system amenable to cytological analysis, in my research group since 1992. In our research, it has been important to exploit cellular, molecular, genetic, and developmental approaches. We have extended our analyses to further examine the function in vertebrate cells (zebrafish, and cultured cell systems) of the novel, essential genes we have identified. Much of our future research will be focused on elucidating the mechanism of action of invadolysin, a conserved metalloprotease we have identified that links mitosis with cell migration, and is, provocatively, localized to the surface of intracellular lipid droplets. Additional studies in the lab are focused on understanding another conserved protein, Poly, identified in my laboratory, that plays a crucial role in mediating insulin signaling. Importantly, both of these genes are conserved amongst metazoan species. Therefore utilizing a tractable genetic model will shed much light on the function of these genes in higher eukaryotes.