The Hope Laboratory studies the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans has many characteristics which make this species a particularly powerful model system for investigation of various aspects of biology, including animal development and behaviour. In addition, the remarkable conservation of animals at the molecular, genetic and cell biological levels means that findings with this worm are typically relevant to all animals, including humans. There have been numerous major biological discoveries made through research on C. elegans. (See WormBook for more background information.)
Current activity in the Hope Laboratory involves creation and study of variants of the ryanodine receptor involved in various human myopathic conditions such as malignant hyperthermia, exertional heat illness, central core disease and late onset axial myopathy. In addition to muscle cell function, our experiments have revealed a significance of these variants for nerve cell function.
Previously, the Hope Laboratory investigated transcription factors and differential gene expression in C. elegans development. Differential gene expression, from cell to cell, is a major factor in the generation of the cellular diversity created during an animal’s development. More than four thousand transgenic strains expressing gfp (green fluorescent protein) fusions to C. elegans genes were generated and have been provided for use in other C. elegans laboratories around the world (See our database.).