O.M. Stewart Colloquium

Dr. Dan Bergstralh
Physics 120
Dr. Maria Mills

Abstract: Epithelial tissues are the first and most abundant tissue type in animals. They can be found in basal organisms like sponges, and they perform a wide range of important biological functions (including gas exchange and nutrient absorption) in humans. These tissues are most typically arranged as monolayers, or “pseudo-2D” sheets of cells. We want to understand how epithelial monolayers develop and maintain that arrangement. Why don’t cells just pile up on top of each other after they divide? I will discuss our lab’s work on this fundamental problem.

Bio: The Finegan-Bergstralh lab studies the question of how cells divide in the context of a developing epithelial tissue, which is usually a fairly crowded environment. We combine approaches from experimental biology (especially microscopy), with approaches from physics and mathematics (especially computational modeling). Dan earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, was a postbac at NIH, earned a PhD at the University of North Carolina, and was a postdoc at the University of Cambridge and fellow of Clare Hall during that time. In 2016 he started his lab at the University of Rochester, where he held appointments in both the Department of Biology and the Department of Physics & Astronomy. The lab moved to Mizzou in May of this year and is now run jointly with Tara Finegan. Dan and Tara are excited to be here at Mizzou and eager to work with its physics community!