Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
- BA, Organismal Biology, Cornell University
- PhD, Evolutionary and Developmental Biology, University of Chicago
Physical & Life Sciences Building, Rm. 310
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22901
Cell and Developmental Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience
Investigating the cell-biological foundations of development
The Pani lab pursues curiosity-driven research exploring the cell biological foundations of development and tissue maintenance.
Cell-cell signaling performs critical functions in development, homeostasis, and disease. In normal conditions, cell signaling is tightly controlled and regulates cell fates, proliferation, and behaviors such as migration. Wnt proteins are one key family of secreted ligands that have essential functions in development and are also frequently implicated in numerous types of cancers. Deciphering how Wnt signaling works has historically been limited by challenges with live imaging of key endogenous proteins in living animals, and how molecular mechanisms of protein transport and signal transduction are integrated with cell and tissue architectures to precisely orchestrate signaling in space and time is not well understood. Currently, the Pani lab utilizes genome engineering, super-resolution live imaging, and functional approaches to seek answers to two fundamental questions: how do Wnt proteins move between cells, and how do these molecular dispersal mechanisms work with cell shapes, behaviors, and extracellular factors to orchestrate signaling?