Bob Goldstein (PI)
My own recent projects:
My own recent projects:
Development of tardigrades (water bears) as a new model system
Although C. elegans has long been my go-to research organism for most biological questions, I began studying tardigrade development as a side project soon after setting up my lab at UNC in 1999. My initial goal was to explore whether tardigrades could be a useful model for studying the evolution of development and for comparative biology more generally. This goal was sparked by the discovery in the late 1990's that C. elegans and Drosophila are much more closely related to each other than had been previously expected—both being members of the Ecdysozoa. I envisioned that phyla closely related to these two models could become valuable models if representatives with a set of useful characteristics for study in the lab could be found. When I began, little modern molecular work had been done with tardigrades. To answer some interesting biological questions, my lab and I developed many of the resources and tools in the phylum for the first time, including a developmental staging series (Gabriel et al., 2007) and methods for microinjection of animals and RNA interference (Tenlen et al. 2013), in situ hybridization (Smith et al. 2016), immunolocalization (Gabriel and Goldstein 2007), introduction of live-cell fluorescent markers into embryos (McGreevy et al., 2018), plus methods for identifying specific, functionally validated mediators of desiccation tolerance (Boothby et al. 2017). My initial work with tardigrades and some of our more recent work is summarized briefly here, and we've published a volume of methods developed for the system.
Our long term goal is to use these animals to contribute to understanding how animal morphology evolves by evolutionary alterations to developmental mechanisms, and how animals and biological molecules can survive some extreme conditions.
Potential applicants to the lab should see the open positions page. The Biology Department's web site has a mentoring resources page, and the Office of Graduae Education has a similar resources page. We don't currently use all of the resources provided, but I'd gladly consider using any such resource for any student or postdoc who wanted to try something out (a mentoring compact or collegial contact guidelines, for example). I seek to improve my potential as a mentor periodically through workshops and by seeking input from members of the lab.
Some of my recent projects
DIY microscope-building workshops for teachers
Magazine writing about science for non-scientists:
Art & Science stuff