• Genetics & Molecular Biology

    Genetics & Molecular Biology


All courses for every first-year Science student will be delivered online this fall. A limited number of students in their second, third and fourth years will return to campus for part of the semester.

Molecular Biology is a fundamental area of investigative research in Biology that employs new technologies and experimental approaches to examine fundamental processes in all living organisms. In the course of these investigations, we use wide variety of model organisms, including mice, guinea pigs, human tissue cell cultures, the nematode species Caenorhabditis elegans, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, model bacteria and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The research is of immediate relevance to human health in many areas including cancer, inherited genetic diseases and disease resistance, DNA repair, and neurosystem development and function. We welcome strong applicants as undergraduate researchers, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Bhagwati Gupta
Profile Photo
Professor, Acting Associate Dean, Science (School of Graduate Studies)
LSB 320
(905) 525-9140 ext. 26451

Vulval development in Caenorhabditis elegans, Regulation and function of gene networks, Evolution of developmental mechanisms Specification of cell fate during development involves a large number of genes that interact with each other and are expressed in dynamic patterns. My lab is interested in understanding the function and evolution of gene networks that control cell proliferation and differentiation. Alterations in gene regulation have been shown to give rise to severe developmental abnormalities including hereditary diseases and cancers. Hence, a fundamental understanding of gene regulatory networks is critical for gaining important insights into the pathogenesis of human diseases. Toward this goal, we are studying vulva development in an established model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans and a closely related species, Caenorhabditis briggsae. The hermaphrodite vulva provides a unique opportunity to identify genes and study their regulation and function during development. In C. elegans, vulva is formed by the progeny of three out of six multipotential vulval precursor cells (VPCs) that divide three times to give rise to twenty-two cells. The vulval progeny differentiate during L4 larval stage to generate seven different cell types leading to the formation of an adult vulva. The invariant lineage of the VPCs and stereotypic positions of their progeny offer experimental analyses at single-cell resolution.

Cell and Developmental Biology; Genetics & Molecular Biology

  • Ranawade et al. (2013) Caenorhabditis elegans histone deacetylase hda-1 is required for morphogenesis of the vulva and LIN-12/notch-mediated specification of uterine cell fates. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics. 3: 1363-1374.
  • Salam et al. (2013) A microfluidic phenotype analysis system reveals function of sensory and dopaminergic neuron signaling in C. elegans electrotactic swimming behavior. Worm. 2: e24558.
  • Tong J et al. (2013). Microfluidic-based electrotaxis for on-demand quantitative analysis of Caenorhabditis elegans' locomotion. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 75: e50226
  • Sharanya et al. (2012). Genetic control of vulval development in Caenorhabditis briggsae. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics.
  • Ross et al. (2011). Caenorhabditis briggsae recombinant inbred line genotypes reveal inter-strain incompatibility and the evolution of recombination. PLoS Genetics, 7: e1002174.
  • Koboldt et al. (2010). A toolkit for rapid gene mapping in the nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae. BMC Genomics 11:236.
  • Seetharaman et al. (2010). Conserved mechanism of Wnt signaling function in vulval cell fate specification in C. elegans and C. briggsae. Developmental Biology 346:128-139.
  • Rezai et al. (2010). Electrotaxis of Caenorhabditis elegans in a microfluidic environment. Lab Chip 10:220-226.
  • Zhao et al. (2010). New tools for investigating the comparative biology of Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 184:853-863.
  • Marri and Gupta (2009). Dissection of lin-11 enhancer regions in Caenorhabditis elegans and other nematodes. Dev. Biol. 325:402-411.
  • Haerty et al. (2008). Genome-wide comparative analysis of C. elegans transcription factors reveals conservation of sequence and interaction networks. BMC Genomics 9:399.
  • Gupta and Sternberg (2003). The draft genome sequence of the nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae, a companion to C. elegans. Genome biology 4:238.1-238.4.
  • Gupta et al. (2003). The C. elegans LIM homeobox gene lin-11 specifies multiple cell fates during vulval development. Development 130:2589-2601.
Go Back
McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Biology