We use Caenorhabditis elegans as our favourite model system to address fundamental problems in biology. Currently, there are two main strands of research in my lab within the area of developmental biology and innate immunity.
First, we are broadly interested in the genotype-to-phenotype relationship and what makes biological systems robust despite the genetic, environmental and stochastic challenges they face. We focus on the epidermis, which is an essential tissue for developmental progression, animal growth and generating the cuticle barrier. We study how a population of epidermal stem cells, known as seam cells, undergoes robust and stereotypic stem-cell like divisions to generate skin cells and neurons. Our goal is to identify mechanisms underlying robust stem cell fate patterning.
Recently, we also became interested in some new natural infections of nematodes by "oomycetes". These eukaryotic creatures include pathogens known to infect animals and plants. However, animal infections have been less studied compared to plant infections. We use the C. elegans model to study how animals sense oomycetes to mount an immune response, and how the pathogen counteracts this response to establish an infection.
We are grateful to all our funders and acknowledge the support of the Wellcome Trust, the European Commission Council, the BBSRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society and Imperial College.
If you are interested in joining our very international team, either as a student (undergraduate, MSc/Mres) or Post-Doc, please get in touch.
For more information, visit: www.barkoulab.org
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et al., 2023, A PAX6-regulated receptor tyrosine kinase pairs with a pseudokinase to activate immune defense upon oomycete recognition in Caenorhabditis elegans., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Vol:120
et al., 2022, A receptor tyrosine kinase regulated by the transcription factor VAB-3/PAX6 pairs with a pseudokinase to trigger immune signalling upon oomycete recognition in<i>C. elegans</i>
et al., 2022, A pals-25 gain-of-function allele triggers systemic resistance against natural pathogens of C. elegans, Plos Genetics, Vol:18, ISSN:1553-7404
et al., 2022, A <i>pals-25</i> gain-of-function allele triggers systemic resistance against natural pathogens of <i>C. elegans</i>
Katsanos D, Barkoulas M, 2022, Targeted DamID in C. elegans reveals a direct role for LIN-22 and NHR-25 in antagonising the epidermal stem cell fate, Science Advances, Vol:8, ISSN:2375-2548, Pages:1-15