Usha Nagarajan
Assistant Professor (Research)
Faculty Member
SASTRA University, Thanjavur, India

Areas of Expertise:
Developmental Biology

Research Organisms:
Drosophila, Mosquitoes


Research Focus:

All multicellular organisms of defined size and growth possess well organized individual cells in the form of epithelial sheets, with precisely regulated mechanisms of cell proliferation and cell morphogenesis. These processes are co-ordinated by interaction between various signaling cascades. Disruption or dysfunction of any of these signaling components leads to drastic events that eventually lead to growth defects and tumorigenesis.
We use Drosophila melanogaster (commonly called Fruit Fly) as our model system to study these processes in-vivo. It is a powerful model system to study the biological function of novel/unknown genes and also to undertake genetic screens to identify novel interacting proteins.
Using eye and wing imaginal discs of the fly, simple monolayer epithelial tissues, my lab employs genetic, biochemical and imaging techniques to better understand these highly interlinked cellular processes of epithelial morphogenesis and tumorigenesis. We have developed a Drosophila growth-defective model to address these issues and we have also undertaken a genetic screen to identify novel proteins implicated in epithelial morphogenesis and tumor development.