Shelby Blythe Assistant Professor

My research focuses on understanding how information encoded in DNA is utilized to direct the process of embryonic development, using as a model system the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Genomic DNA is stored in the nucleus not as a naked polymer, but rather as a complex nucleoprotein complex referred to as chromatin. Chromatin structure subdivides functional domains within the genome, relegating DNA sequences to either 'active' or 'inactive' compartments. My research combines classical embryology, genetics, genomics, and quantitative imaging to focus on three main questions. 1) How does chromatin structure evolve over the course of embryonic development as cells acquire unique fates and distinct patterns of active and inactive compartments? 2) What are the mechanisms and regulatory strategies used by the embryo to drive these changes in chromatin structure? 3) Can we develop optical tools to both observe and manipulate chromatin states in real time?