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Daniel Bergstralh


  • Assistant Professor


326B Hutchison
(585) 275-2631
Fax: (585) 275-2070

Office Hours: By appointment


Research Overview

Epithelial tissues are specialized to perform any of several functions: They can be protective, like the skin, which shields the body from the environment.  They can be absorptive, like the lining of the intestine, which takes up nutrients from the lumen.  They can be secretory, like glands that discharge hormones into the bloodstream.

All these functions rely on tissue impermeability; a leaky tissue can't form a protective barrier or regulate the transport of factors like nutrients and hormones.  The cells that make up epithelial tissues are therefore tightly packed together.  This arrangement must somehow be maintained even though individual cell behaviours, in particular division, can be disruptive to the local environment.  (One could imagine this as a brick wall not only having to make space for more bricks, but also managing to do it without letting any air pass through.)

A failure in epithelial tissue permeability might not only disrupt function.  Disorganization is also suspected to facilitate cancer.  The importance of this possibility is underscored by the finding that 80-90% of all human tumors derive from epithelial cells.

The Bergstralh lab is therefore interested in two big questions:  Firstly, how is epithelial integrity established and maintained?  Secondly, what happens when it isn't?

We are using multiple model systems, including Drosophila melanogaster and cultured mammalian intestinal organoids, to address these questions.

Recent Publications

Christian Cammarota, Tara M Finegan, Tyler J Wilson, Sifan Yang, Dan T Bergstralh An Axon-Pathfinding Mechanism Preserves Epithelial Tissue Integrity BioRxiv, 2020

Holly E. Lovegrove, Dan T. Bergstralh, Daniel St Johnston The role of integrins in Drosophila egg chamber morphogenesis Development, 2019

Tara M. Finegan, Dan T. Bergstralh Division orientation: disentangling shape and mechanical forces Cell Cycle, 2019

Tara M Finegan, Daxiang Na, Christian Cammarota, Austin V Skeeters, Tam{\'{a}}s J N{\'{a}}dasi, et al. Tissue tension and not interphase cell shape determines cell division orientation in the Drosophila follicular epithelium The EMBO Journal, 2019

Dan T. Bergstralh, Nicole S. Dawney, Daniel St Johnston Spindle orientation: a question of complex positioning Development, 2017

Wilson TJ, Bergstralh DT Cell reintegration: Stray epithelial cells make their way home. BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 2017

Dan T. Bergstralh, Holly E. Lovegrove, Izabela Kujawiak, Nicole S. Dawney, Jinwei Zhu, et al. Pins is not required for spindle orientation in the Drosophila wing disc Development, 2016

Lateral adhesion drives reintegration of misplaced cells into epithelial monolayers. Nature Cell Biology, 2015

Analysis of the expression patterns, subcellular localisations and interaction partners of Drosophila proteins using a pigP protein trap library. Development, 2014

Spindle orientation: what if it goes wrong? Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, 2014

For more, please visit my ORCID Profile