ken Moberg, PhD

Associate Professor of Cell Biology

Emory University SChool of Medicine

Atlanta, GA


A Drosophila Model of Human Intellectual Disability

Our science...


A main focus of the lab is understanding genetic circuitry that controls tissue growth in developing Drosophila epithelia. To do this, we use a combination of classic genetic screens, proteomics, and transcriptomics to identify and define critical growth regulators. Drosophila is a proven and powerful model system to approach this biological problem, and we aim to uncover conserved and novel mechanisms that drive tumorigenesis in humans.     

Current work

     - Genetic and proteomic analysis of the Hippo   

       tumor suppressor pathway; collaborative work with the Veraksa

       Lab at UMass

     - Nuclear role of the Anti-apotosis Clone-11 (Aac11) protein

     - Growth regulatory mechanisms of the Fbxw7/Ago  

       tumor suppressor protein

     - Genetic circuits that transform non-motile polarized wing cells into

       aggressively invasive cells

Developmental Control of Tissue Growth

The laboratory also studies the Nab2/ZC3H14 polyadenosine RNA binding protein in collaboration with the Corbett Lab (Emory Univ., Dept of Biochemistry). Together with colleagues in the US, Germany, and Iran, we identified ZC3H14 mutations in human families with heritable intellectual disability (ID; aka mental retardation) and showed that the fly homolog of this protein, Nab2, is required for neurodevelopment and behavior. We have since uncovered evidence of a role for Nab2 in learning & memory and in the control of axon pathfinding in the Drosophila brain. We are identifying Nab2-interacting proteins and RNAs neuronal pathways and mRNAs regulated by dNab2.

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