Craig T. Woodard

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College

C. Woodard Biology Dept Website

Ph.D.: Yale University
Postdoctoral Training: University of Utah
Honors: National Science Foundation CAREER Award

Steroid Hormonal Regulation of Development in Drosophila

Steroid hormones control a wide range of developmental processes in higher organisms, including humans. The biological processes controlled by steroid hormones include the development of secondary sex characteristics, reproductive function, and dietary metabolism. Steroid hormones act in conjunction with receptor proteins to regulate the expression of target genes, ensuring that these genes are activated in the right tissues and at the right times. Although we have some understanding of how steroid hormones and their receptors control gene transcription in cultured mammalian cells, we understand little about how these effects on gene expression result in the dramatic developmental changes associated with steroiod hormone function.

The goal of our research is to answer one of the central questions of developmental biology - how can a single hormonal signal elicit different responses at different times during development? This central question is difficult to address using verterate animals, because it is difficult to perform whole animal and genetic studies with vertebrates. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, in contrast, provides an ideal model system for unraveling the molecular mechanisms of steroid hormone action in the context of an intact animal. Drosophila undergoes a dramatic transition from larva to adult fly that is called metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is directed by a single steroid hormone called ecdysone. We are carrying out genetic, phnotypic, and molecular characterizations of mutations in genes that appear to play key roles in directing transcriptional and developmental responses to ecdysone. By examining the mechanisms whereby ecdysone regulates metamorphosis in the fly, we hope to gain a better understanding of how steroid hormones control developmental processes in general.

Our Research is supported by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Science Foundation.

Representative publications:

Bond, N. Nelliot, A., Bernardo, M.D., **Gorski, K., **Ayerh, M., Hoshizaki, D.K. and Woodard, C.T. (2011). ßFTZ-F1 and Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 are Required for Fat-Body Remodeling in Drosophila.Developmental Biology 360: 286-296. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.09.015

Kim, C., Srivastava, S., Rice, M., Godenschwege, T.A., Bentley, B., **Shao., S., **Ravi, S., Woodard, C.T., and Schwartz, L.M. (2011). Expression of Human Amyloid Precursor Protein in the Skeletal Muscles of Drosophila Results in Age- and Activity-Dependent Muscle Wakness. BMC Physiology, 11:7. doi: 10.1186/1472-6793-11-7

Maloney, M., Parker, J., LeBlanc, M., Woodard, C.T., Glackin, M., and Hanrahan, M. (2010). Bioinformatics and the Undergraduate Curriculum. CBE - Life Sciences Education 9: 172-174

Woodard, C., Alcorta, E., and Carlson, J. (2007). The rdgB Gene of Drosophila: A Link Between Vision and Olfaction, J. Neurogenetics 21: 291-305 (Reissued from 1992)

Pick, L., Anderson,k W.R., Shulz, J., and Woodard, C.T. (2006). The Ftz-F1 family: orphan nuclear receptors regulated by novel protein-protein interactions in Nuclear receptors in development. Volume 16 (Advances in Developmental Biology series). Reshma Taneja editor. Elsevier.

Fortier, T.M., Chatterjee, R., Klinedinst, S., Baehreche, E.H., and Woodard, C.T. (2006). how functions in leg development during Drosophila metamorphosis. Developmental Dynamics 235: 2248-2259

(**indicates undergraduate author)