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Don Fox

Assistant Professor
Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
919-613-8756
Research Interest: 
Cell cycle
Developmental biology
Genetics
Research Summary: 
Tissue Repair and Genome Stability.
Research Description: 

1. ORGAN REPAIR AND REMODELING
While many organs use active stem cells to replenish and repair tissues, other highly regenerative organs lack active stem cells. Our lab uses genetic, genomic, and cell biological approaches to understand how organ repair and remodeling occur through the use of inducible repair mechanisms. Our model tissue, the Drosophila hindgut, possesses quiescent adult cells that can be induced to repair the tissue following injury. Further, during metamorphosis, this tissue undergoes a natural “injury” that prompts whole-scale organ regeneration.

2. POLYPLOIDY, CHROMOSOMAL INSTABILITY, AND CANCER
Chromosomal instability is a hallmark of cancer, yet its origins are poorly understood. One model for the origin and retention of instability and subsequent tumor aneuploidy is the formation of polyploid cells, which undergo error-prone division in vitro. During hindgut metamorphosis, polyploid cells divide as part of normal fly development. Strikingly, these polyploid divisions are also highly error-prone. Our lab characterizes polyploid cell cycles to identify the origins of this cancer-enabling phenomenon.

Publications: 
Drosophila stem cell niches: a decade of discovery suggests a unified view of stem cell regulation.
Losick VP, Morris LX, Fox DT, Spradling A.
Dev Cell. 2011. 21:159-71.

Error-prone polyploid mitosis during normal Drosophila development.
Fox DT, Gall JG, Spradling AC.
Genes Dev. 2010. 24:2294-302.

The Drosophila hindgut lacks constitutively active adult stem cells but proliferates in response to tissue damage.
Fox DT, Morris LX, Nystul T, Spradling AC, Fox DT, Spradling AC.
Cell Stem Cell. 2009. 5:290-7.

Stem cells and their niches: integrated units that maintain Drosophila tissues.
Spradling AC, Nystul T, Lighthouse D, Morris L, Fox D, Cox R, Tootle T, Frederick R, Skora A.
Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2008. 73:49-57.