Cell Polarity  
Nematode Ecological Genomics  
Ecological Genomics  


The main reseach question of the lab is to link responses of living systems to environmental change at the genetic level. The question is, which genes are most important for how organisms respond to the environment. Our approach is to implement projects that meld the disciplines of genetics and ecology in the discipline of Ecological Genomics. The Herman Lab is part of a multidisciplinary group that is investigating the genetic basis for the changes in nematode species composition in response to environmental cues. We use genomic approaches such as transcriptomics and next generation sequencing techiniques to discover ecologically important genes and study their functions. The long-term goal of this project is to discover which genes are induced or repressed in response to variations in resource availability. Our current focus is on interactions of bacteria-feeding nematodes with their biotic environment, specifically bacteria!

For many years we had studied the control of cell polarity in developing systems using the nematode, C. elegans as a model. However, this project is no longer active, although we have some results yet to publish. We had studied cell polarity in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans because it has a small number of cells, all of which can be seen in the light microscope, and is amenable to genetic analysis. The overall goal of this project was to understand how cell polarity is generated and maintained during animal development. Our approach was to identify and study genes involved in the control of cell polarity by identifying mutations that disrupt the polarities of individual cells. Much of our work focused on the role Wnt signaling pathways play in the control of cell polarity. Our latest work aimed to discover how signaling pathways interact with the centrosome to control cell polarity in developing tissues.

We are located in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University.

We are part of
the Program in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) as well as the KSU Ecological Genomics Institute.




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