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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Feb 2021 update: PhD opportunity available
et al., 2021, Cryptic genetic variation in a heat shock protein modifies the outcome of a mutation affecting epidermal stem cell development in C. elegans, Nature Communications, Vol:12, ISSN:2041-1723
et al., 2021, Phenotypic Robustness of Epidermal Stem Cell Number in C. elegans Is Modulated by the Activity of the Conserved N-acetyltransferase nath-10/NAT10, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, Vol:9, ISSN:2296-634X
et al., 2021, A role for the fusogen eff-1 in epidermal stem cell number robustness in Caenorhabditis elegans, Scientific Reports, Vol:11, ISSN:2045-2322
et al., 2021, Single-shot phase contrast microscopy using polarisation-resolved differential phase contrast
Grover M, Barkoulas M, 2021, C. elegans as a new tractable host to study infections by animal pathogenic oomycetes, Plos Pathogens, Vol:17, ISSN:1553-7366, Pages:1-7