Novel genes involved in the regulation of insulin signalling and growth in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster


Dysregulation of growth in humans underlies many of the major diseases that afflict society, including cancer, growth disorders and obesity. The fruitfly Drosophila provides a powerful genetic system for studying how the signalling pathways that control growth are regulated in response to environmental input. Indeed, much of our current knowledge of human growth signalling pathways comes from studies in Drosophila, because the major growth signalling pathways are highly conserved between flies and humans. For example, much of the basic knowledge in regards to how the insulin/IGF signalling pathway regulates growth in response to nutrition was discovered through studying Drosophila. In this seminar, Prof Coral will be sharing with us her research on identification of new genes that regulate fruit fly growth by acting in the insulin signalling pathway.


Coral Warr is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University. She leads a research program in Drosophila cellular and developmental genetics, with a focus on how cells respond to signals from their environment. Coral completed a PhD in Genetics at the University of Melbourne, where she worked on the regulation of TRPC channels in Drosophila phototransduction. She then undertook postdoctoral studies at Yale University in the USA where she was a first author on two ground-breaking studies that uncovered the gene families encoding receptors involved in olfaction and taste in Drosophila. Her research group at Monash focuses on the extracellular control of cell signalling during development. One area of focus is the role of perforin-like proteins in controlling cell signalling in Drosophila during embryo patterning, endocrine control of growth, and immunity. Her group is also identifying and characterising new genes that regulate growth in flies, and genes that link growth and metabolic pathways. As well as running a research group Coral is a passionate educator and teaches genetics to Science and Biomedical Science students at all levels. She is also the Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Science.