PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Postdoctoral, Princeton University, Duke University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Office: 3560 Thomas Hall, 919-513-2718
Lab: 3566 Thomas Hall, 919-515-5775
Website: Visit our Lab Home Page
Research Areas: Molecular / Cell / Development
I study how the central nervous system (CNS) is generated during development, using the Drosophila CNS midline cells as a model. The central nervous system is an extensive communication system consisting of two cell types: neurons and glia. For neurons and glia to function within this system, they must express the appropriate battery of genes and make connections with other cells. Dissecting how genes are regulated within the various cell types provides information on how this complicated communication network is established. The research focuses on the Drosophila CNS that is an excellent experimental model for identifying genes required for the development and function of cells within this system.
My research focuses on midline cells that are centrally located within the fly CNS and split it in half. Midline cells differentiate into a diverse set of neurons and glia and provide many signals to guide the paths of axons during their growth. In addition, they have many functional similarities with their vertebrate counterparts (floorplate cells of the spinal cord) in the way they signal to and guide axons during their growth.
Zhang Y, Wheatley R, Fulkerson E, Tapp A, and Estes P. (2011). Mastermind mutations generate a unique constellation of midline cells within the Drosophila CNS. PLoS ONE. 6: e26197.
Fulkerson E, and Estes P. (2010). Common motifs shared by conserved enhancers of Drosophila midline glial genes. JEZ. Part B 316B, 61–75.
Estes P, Fulkerson E, and Zhang Y. (2008). Identification of motifs that are conserved in twelve Drosophila species and regulate midline glia versus neuron expression. Genetics. 178: 787–799.
Kearney JB, Wheeler SR, Estes P, Parente B, and Crews ST. (2004). Gene expression profiling of the developing Drosophila CNS midline cells. Dev Biol. 275: 473–492.
Sugimura K, Satoh D, Estes P, Crews S, and Uemura T. (2004). Development of morphological diversity of dendrites in Drosophila by the BTB-zinc finger protein abrupt. Neuron 43: 809–822.