This fall the School of Biological Sciences has two new faculty members—Assistant Professor Alysia and Assistant Professor Nate Mortimer. Currently, they are busy setting-up their research labs on the third floor of the Science Lab Building, so be sure to drop in and introduce yourself. Below are a couple statements from them. It is all about flies.
I am excited to be joining the ISU community! My research focuses on understanding how aging and environmental factors like pesticides and toxins contribute to neurodegenerative diseases and muscular dystrophies using the model system Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly). Flies have proven to be an exceedingly effective system for studying these questions as fly models of human diseases often behave similarly to human patients. In addition, flies are a fantastic genetic system that allows us to explore how genes interact with each other as well as environmental factors to influence a disease state. I use a combination of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and behavioral assays to test how manipulating aging genes or exposure to pesticides affects the fly at the cellular, tissue, and whole organism level.
My research is focused on understanding the factors that determine the outcome of a parasitic infection. For this research my lab uses a model host-parasite system, in which the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is infected by a parasitoid wasp. We then take an integrative approach, using genetics, cell biology, and computational biology to investigate the function of the host fly’s immune response, and the tricks the parasitoid wasp uses to overcome it. I am very excited to be joining ISU, and look forward to working with my new colleagues in the School of Biological Sciences.