In the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, cilia are found on the dendritic endings ... More > Sexual behaviors are evoked by a wide variety of sensory cues and generated by specialized sensory neurons ... More > Several human genetic disorders, including autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease ... More >

The Barr lab uses the nematode C. elegans to study fundamental questions in biology (ciliogenesis, ciliary transport, and most recently, ciliary extracellular vesicles) and to model human genetic diseases of cilia. Using the beautiful simplicity of “the worm,” we consistently tackle major important problems that are biomedically relevant, and have a track record of groundbreaking discoveries. Many of the genes and pathways we study control C. elegans behaviors, therefore we are also interested in neurogenetics and neuroplasticity. Our studies have guided research into autosomal polycystic kidney disease and other ciliopathies. Our research has unlocked insights into three exciting new areas in the Barr lab: ciliary specialization, extracellular vesicles (EVs), and stress-induced neuronal restructuring.




February 2021

The Barr lab has been making lemonade out of lemons this past pandemic year. In March 2020, we quickly locked down thanks to our super lab manager Gloria Androwski and the dauer worms. During work from home, we focused on writing manuscripts and fellowships. Over the summer, we slowly returned to the lab and now continue to work at 50% capacity. As a result of our quick strategic planning and teamwork, we published many exciting new stories. Check them out!

Juan Wang and Inna Nikonorova discovered that male cilia release PKD-::GFP carrying-EVs in response to mechanical pressure and that EVs are targeted to the hermaphrodite vulva during mating.

Jonathon Walsh and Olivier Boivin penned a hybrid review-research paper on male mating behavior for a special issue on Brenner and Sulston.

Kade Power, Shilpa Akella and Bob O’Hagan and his undergraduate screen team published their paper on identifying regulators of ciliary stability and degeneration. Kade continues to probe the mechanism by which the NEKL-4 kinase regulates hyper-glutamylation induced ciliary degeneration.

Shilpa Akella wrote an epic review on the role of the tubulin code in extracellular vesicle releasing neurons.

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