Helen obtained her PhD at Stanford University with James Nelson, studying how epithelial cell polarity is established, using cultured mammalian cells. She then conducted her postdoctoral studies with Mike Simon ( also at Stanford), using Drosophila genetics to investigate how tissues become polarized, via planar cell polarity signaling. She set up her own lab at the ICRF/CRUK in London England, where her lab first studied Fat cadherins and linked them to the regulation of growth through the Hippo pathway. She then moved her lab to the Lunenfeld Research Institute in Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada where she expanded these studies to mice and hydra. In 2018, Helen moved to Washington University School of Medicine, where her lab continues to study how groups of cells become organized in development. The lab uses cell biology, genetics and molecular approaches in diverse models ,to understand how Fat cadherins and the Hippo pathway coordinately regulate tissue patterning and growth. Recent work in her lab has expanded to investigation of how chromatin organization and fertility are controlled in flies, mice and humans.
Spencer is an Instructor in the Department of Developmental Biology pursuing injury and regeneration research topics in the stomach and other GI organs. Currently, Spencer is exploring how the Hippo Pathway controls cell identity/growth during homeostasis and injury in the stomach. Outside the lab, Spencer enjoys spending time with his family in local parks and exploring the craft beer and restaurant scene in St. Louis.
Bilal is a postdoc with research interests on understanding the processes of oogenesis and embryogenesis. His current main project is how NEMP proteins regulate ovarian aging and how this aging can be reversed to rejuvenate aged ovaries in mice. Outside of the lab, Bilal likes playing cricket and enjoys hiking.
Research Technician II
Emma is a research technician working with mice and managing the lab’s mouse colony. She recently graduated from SLU with her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and is looking to gain more biological research experience before exploring a career in medicine. She is excited to learn more about the mouse Fat proteins and working with these proteins for a future project. Outside of lab, Emma is learning to play the drums and enjoys taking dance classes.
Christine is in the Post-Baccalaureate Program in Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and is a recent graduate from the University of Chicago with a major in Biological Sciences. She’s interested in exploring NEMP more from the Drosophila side, and to gain more experience as an independent researcher. Outside of lab, she enjoys dabbling in keyboard instruments and spending time in nature.
Evan is in the Post-Baccalaureate Program in Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine. He recently obtained his undergraduate degree from Truman State University, where he gained a background in D. melanogaster. Evan is excited to continue working with flies and learn everything he can. Outside of lab, he enjoys going out to eat with friends and baking.
Senior Research Technician
Alex is a research technician working with fly models and helping with various projects around the lab. His current project explores the Dachsous Intracellular Domain and its role in the Hippo pathway. When Alex is away from the lab, he spends his time cooking and playing video games.
Abira is a postdoc who wants to explore the development and maturation of germ cells through high content imaging. She obtained her PhD from ACTREC, India, exploring nucleus size and shape control mechanisms in diverse model organisms. After her PhD, she spent time understanding collagen homeostasis and vesicular trafficking at CRG, Barcelona. Currently, she is excited about understanding the role of NEMP1 in chromatin organization and fertility. She is happy to explore the world of the nucleus again. She is a new mother, and outside her time in the lab, she loves to spend time with her little one, watching cartoons, reading books and coloring with crayons.
Recent graduate from Truman State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She’s currently studying variations in protein expression with Nemp1 loss using cell culture models. Outside of the lab she enjoys crochet and baking.
Cole joined the lab in 2022 after obtaining his PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied the energetic and developmental causes and consequences of monarch butterfly migration. Currently, his research investigates the role of Nemp in lipid droplets (LDs) in Drosophila as well as the roles LDs may be playing in the storage of cell lipids and cell stress. Outside of the lab, he enjoys cooking, playing volleyball, and exploring St. Louis with his dogs.
Jennysue is a 5th year grad student in the DRSCB Ph.D. program at WashU. She earned her
Bachelors of Biology with a concentration in molecular genetics from Georgia State University
in 2019. Her project is focused on understanding the role that Fat and Dachsous cadherins play during mammalian eye development. Jennysue is passionate about mentorship and science communication. She is the Junior Co-Coordinator for the DBBS Peer-Mentoring program and the Director of Science Communication for ProSPER. In her spare time, Jennysue enjoys alt rock concerts, hiking and is trying get back into reading.
DRSCB Peer-Mentor Program: https://dbbsstudentadvisorycommittee.wustl.edu/peer-mentor-program/
A transplant from the Sunshine State, Lisa received her PhD from the University of Florida where she studied the mechanisms underlying intervertebral disc development. In the McNeill Lab, Lisa looks forward to using her background in mouse genetics and bone biology to investigate how Fat genes regulate skeletogenesis in mice. Outside the lab, Lisa enjoys comedy shows and taking her posse of pups on hikes at Castlewood and surrounding areas.
Andy is an undergraduate at WashU working with both the Nemp1 and Fat projects in the lab. Specifically, He is working on the search for novel Nemp binding partners, as well as exploring Fat2 localization in the cerebellum. Outside of the lab Andy enjoys cooking and playing guitar.
Jannette is currently trying to identify potential transcriptional targets of one of the lab’s favorite genes, Fat. She is happy to be back working with flies after a few years’ worth of excursions into algae and mice. In her spare time she enjoys dance in all forms and tries to attend as many of the music and dance events that St. Louis has to offer as possible.
Joe is a postdoc aiming to uncover the roles and mechanisms of Fat cadherins and NEMP proteins in development, patterning, and disease using bioinformatics approach and pathway analysis. They have obtained their PhD in Translational and Cancer Bioinformatics at University of Missouri-Columbia, streamlining an informatics pipeline for biomedical knowledge complexity reduction for pathway analysis in precision medicine. Besides research, Joe enjoys traveling, cooking, and listening to jazz and blues.
Ling is a staff scientist exploring the molecular functions of NEMP1 protein in oogenesis in mouse via whole-mount tissue fluorescence reconstruction methods. In her spare time, Ling enjoys cooking, hiking and reading. She won second place in a cooking competition. Spicy food such as hotpot is her favorite food.