Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content
Vidal-Gadea Lab
Vidal-Gadea Lab
Jump over the College navigation bar.

Welcome to our lab!

lab.jpg

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

Our lab uses the nematode C. elegans to study the molecular, neuronal, and evolutionary underpinnings of behavior. We apply these insights to the study of neural and muscular pathologies. Our approach is integrative and combines forward and reverse genetics, immunohistochemistry, calcium imaging, optogenetics, and in-depth behavioral analysis. We currently focus on two topics: magnetic field detection and orientation, and the etiology and prevention of degeneration during Duchenne muscular dystrophy.


Magnetic field detection and orientation:

Many organisms detect and use the magnetic field of the earth to navigate their environment. While much progress has been made in this exciting field, no magneto transduction mechanism has been identified in any animal. After demonstrating that nematodes can detect and orient to magnetic fields, our lab identified the first set of neurons capable of detecting this invisible force field. Our lab presently works to: 1) characterize the magnetic orientation behavior of C. elegans; 2) identify the molecular transduction mechanism allowing worms to detect magnetic fields; 3) determine how the magnetosensory neurons encode magnetic information; 4) evaluate the effects of non-terrestrial magnetic fields on animal viability.  

 

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy:

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a lethal disease affecting 1 in 3500 males caused by deleterious mutations in DYS1, a giant gene encoding the dystrophin protein. Progress in this field is hindered by lack of animal models faithfully recreating the disease beyond the genetic lesion (e.g. muscular degeneration, loss of ambulation). We devised the first assay able to fully recapitulate the progression of the disease in animals. We then conducted a genetic screen and isolated mutants able to overcome the effects of the disease.  My students now work to identify these mutations hoping to bring relief to those suffering with this disease. We are also using this and similar assays to evaluate different types of exercise that might prove protective for dystrophic musculature.​


Contact:​

 

Vidal-Gadea Lab                  
School of Biological Sciences
Illinois State University 
339 Science Laboratory Building
Campus Box 4120
Normal, Illinois 61790-4120
Office: (309) 438-5220
Lab: (309) 438-2643
Email: avidal@ilstu.edu​​​