Williams Lab funded for 5 years under Maine NIH INBRE program
Larissa’s INBRE research project is developmental in two senses of the word: Not only will it help her gather the data necessary to establish the research program of her lab, but the research itself examines the development of an unassuming but fascinating creature, the zebrafish. Zebrafish are widely and increasingly used as a model organism in studying the developmental biology of vertebrate animals because of their rapid and external development as transparent embryos, the availability of extensive genomic and molecular tools, and the similarity of their developmental signaling pathways to those of humans. Using zebrafish, Larissa and her students will examine developmental mechanisms that are disrupted by exposure to toxicants, focusing on the role of a recently discovered genetic transcription factor known as nuclear factor, erythroid 2 (Nfe2). This research may provide a better understanding of how molecular signaling can protect embryos from potentially toxic events and later life consequences.