Ruta Ziukaite

I was born in Lithuania, but I moved to the United States when I was 8 years old. I grew up in Rhode Island and ended up attending New York University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. During my undergraduate career, I worked in Christine Rushlow’s lab where I studied the underlying mechanisms behind embryonic development in Drosophila. I was also heavily involved with a program at NYU called Women in Science, which brings together and supports women who are interested in careers in any of the STEM fields. In my final year of college, I decided I wanted to pursue a research degree and in 2014, I was accepted to the Wellcome Trust Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology at UCL. Currently in Jean-Paul Vincent’s lab, I’m researching the role of Dpp/BMP signalling in the growth of Drosophila wing precursors. Our lab has shown that Dpp signalling is continuously required in the wing imaginal disc for normal growth. However, Dpp does not need to be expressed in a gradient to stimulate cell proliferation. In the future, we hope to elucidate the precise mechanism behind Dpp-dependant growth regulation in the wing disc.