Alisa Piekny's Lab - Concordia University


MSc Candidate


BSc Biology, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
BA Sociology, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Teaching Courses:

Biol 368 - Genetics and Cell Biology Lab (TA)

Research Interest:

Epidermal morphogenesis is essential for the development of metazoans and occurs due to the coordinated migration and shape changes of epidermal cells. An important stage of C. elegans epidermal morphogenesis is ventral enclosure, when the ventral epidermal cells migrate over underlying neuronal precursor cells, the neuroblasts, in order to encase the embryo in a single layer of epidermis.

This process is initiated by the migration and adhesion of two pairs of anterior leading epidermal cells, followed by the migration and adhesion of eight pairs of posterior pocket epidermal cells. Previous studies have shown that the generation of short, branched F-actin required to form the protruding filopodia needed for migration is essential for ventral enclosure. However, the role of non-muscle myosin in this process had not yet been shown. Furthermore, the role of the underlying neuroblasts - be it chemical, mechanical, or both - was not well understood.

We found that GFP-tagged myosin localizes to foci that organize into a supra-cellular ring-like structure during ventral enclosure surrounding the ventral pocket cells. We also observed myosin foci in the neuroblasts, and we found that myosin is required for ventral enclosure.​ We are currently examining the tissue-specific contribution of myosin from epidermal and neuroblast cells as well as their individual and combined requirement during ventral enclosure. These studies should shed light on the interplay between tissues during embryonic development.


Karina Mastronardi

CALL US  (514) 848-2424 ext. 5983

​​Principle Investigator
Alisa Piekny

Current Lab Members

Daniel Beaudet (PhD cand)
Dilan Jaunky (PhD cand)
​​Imge Özügergin (MSc cand)
Karina Mastronardi (PhD cand)
Kevin Larocque (MSc cand)

Former Lab Members

​​Alexa Mariotti (MSc)
Chloë van Oostende, PhD (RA)
Denise Wernicke (PhD)
Eric Haines (MSc)
Husni Haji Bik (MSc)
Karina Mastronardi (MSc)
Madhav Soowamber, MSc (RA)
Michael Loloyan (MSc)
Melina Jaramillo Garcia (MSc)
Mena Kinal (MSc)
Neetha Makil (MSc)
Nellie Fotopoulos (MSc)
Paknoosh Pakarian (MSc)
Paul Frenette (MSc)
Tara Akhshi (MSc, RA)
Yun Chen (MSc)