Brain freeze-frame

A confocal image of the developing brain in a common fruit fly shows mitotic (dividing) cells (red), DNA (blue), and nuclei (green). Researchers in the lab of Pamela Geyer, PhD, professor of biochemistry, use the fruit fly model to study how changes to nuclear structure and chromosome organization affect gene expression and lead to human diseases. Within the nucleus, genes reside within chromosomes, which are specifically arranged in the nucleus to facilitate gene expression. Changes to the positioning of chromosomes in the nucleus can lead to mis-expression of genes, which are believed to be the cause of the human diseases of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and the Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, associated with premature aging.