Kim McCall

Professor of Biology

  • Title Professor of Biology
  • Education B.S., SUNY New Paltz
    Ph.D., Harvard University

Research in the McCall lab aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of programmed cell death and cell clearance. We study these processes in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, an organism with unique advantages in genetics, genomics and cell biology. A major interest of the lab is germline cell death, which can occur at several distinct stages in the fly ovary. While apoptosis is the major form of cell death occurring in response to starvation, a novel non-apoptotic type of cell death occurs during developmental nurse cell death.  After the germ cells die, they are engulfed by epithelial follicle cells, providing a powerful in vivo model system for investigating the genetics and cell biology of phagocytosis. We are also investigating cell clearance mechanisms by glia in the brain. Given the high degree of conservation of cell death mechanisms between Drosophila and mammals identified thus far, we expect that pathways that we uncover in the fly will provide insight into the diversity of cell death mechanisms and consequences of defective cell removal in humans.

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