Annick Sawala

I have a longstanding interest cell signalling and how it controls and coordinates behaviour of different cell types.

During my PhD, I investigated how BMP signalling is regulated by the extracellular matrix and integrins.
 
My postdoc work in the Gould lab focuses in growth regulation, using the Drosophila larva as a model.

I studied how growth is regulated sex-specifically to give differences in body size between males and females. Surprisingly, I discovered that sex differences in body growth are controlled remotely by subsets of neurons in the brain. Interestingly, this is rather similar to our model for sex-specific growth regulation in mammals. 

Currently, I am investigating how some organs, but not others, are able to grow during starvation, a phenomenon termed organ sparing. The two questions I am particularly interested in are:

  1. What are the signals that stimulate the growth of spared organs during starvation?
  2. Where to do spared organs obtain the nutrients from to fuel their growth?

To address these questions, I am using a wide range of techniques, combining in vivo genetics with metabolomics, cell/tissue culture, protein biochemistry and imaging.