Ming Gao, PhD: Germline Stem Cells, Its Specification and Development
Dr. Ming Gao’s research focuses on germ cells, a unique class of stem cells that give rise to eggs and sperm, and ultimately to an entire organism after gamete fusion. He is interested in how germ cells are specified and therefore separated from the somatic cell lineage. He uses Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) as the model organism to study the formation of the germ cell line during the development of the egg.
In Drosophila, key genes like tud, me31B are crucial for the formation of the germline stem cells. How do these genes function at the molecular/genetic level in this process? Humans have homologous genes for fruit fly gene tud and me31B. What advancement in human fertility, child development, and stem cell studies can we achieve by understanding how these genes work in flies? Dr. Ming Gao is trying to answer these questions using a molecular genetics approach.