In the Rolls lab we are interested in how neurons generate axons and dendrites with different functions and constituents. To address this problem we focus on the role of cytoskeletal organization and polarized trafficking. Currently, we are working on identifying mechanisms and proteins that control microtubule orientation in neurons. We use genetics and live imaging in Drosophila to assay to investigate the basic cell biology of neurons in their normal environment.
As neurons must last our entire lifetime, we are also interested in understanding how they survive stress and injury. We have been using the tools and ideas developed from our polarity studies to investigate both degeneration and regeneration.