Professor, Department of Genetics
Development and homeostasis are critically dependent on communication between cells. Much has been discovered about the signals that define differentiated cell fates during development. An emerging goal is to understand how tissue growth, proliferation and morphogenesis are controlled. We study these processes in Drosophila melanogaster, both because of the sophistication of the in vivo studies that are possible, and the facility with which cell-autonomous and non-autonomous processes (which define cell-cell communication events) can be distinguished. Interactions defined this way can be studied further by molecular, genetic, biochemical and imaging methods to understand cell communication mechanisms in vivo.
Currently we are interested in the following projects:
mathematical modeling of tissue patterning;
the cellular changes that accompany the terminal differentiation of multipotent progenitor cells as revealed by global changes in the gene expression and their regulation;
3) control of the cell cycle during development and growth;
the mechanisms that block cell cycle entry in differentiating neurons, the mechanisms that prevent cytokinesis in neurons, and the relationship of neuronal cell cycle defects to neurodegenerative disease;
the roles of HLH transcription factors and their homeostatic regulation in differentiation, growth, and their coordination, and their relationships to cancer;
cell competition, a mechanism by which ribosomal protein imbalances allow aneuploid cells to be detected and eliminated, its conservation in mammals and importance to cancer and aging.
For more details, and complete list of publications, please see our website at
Ruggiero, R., Kale, A., Thomas, B. and Baker, N.E. (2012). Mitosis in neurons: Roughex and Anaphase Promoting Complex maintain cell cycle exit to prevent cytokinetic and axonal defects in Drosophila photoreceptor neurons. PLoS Genetics, 8, e1003049.
Bhattacharya, A. and Baker, N.E. (2012). The role of the bHLH protein Hairy in morphogeentic furrow progression in the developing Drosophila eye. PLoS ONE, 7, e47503.
Bhattacharya, A. and Baker, N.E. (2011). A network of broadly-expressed HLH genes regulates tissue-specific cell fates. Cell, 147, 881-892.
Lubensky, D.K., Penninton, M.W., Shraiman, B., and Baker, N.E. (2011). A dynamical model of ommatidial crystal formation. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 108: 11145-11150.
Baker, N.E., and Firth, L.C. (2011). Retinal Determination Genes function along with cell-cell
signals to regulate Drosophila eye development: examples of multi-layered regulation by Master
Regulators. Bioessays, 33: 538-546.
Baker, N.E. (2011). Cell competition. Curr Biol 21: R11-15.
Li, W., Kale, A., and Baker, N.E. (2009) Oriented cell division as a response to cell death and cell competition. Curr. Biol. 19 1821-1826.
Li, W. and Baker, N.E. (2007) Engulfment is required for cell competition. Cell, 129, 1215-1225.
Baker, N.E. (2007) Pattern formation and the spatial regulation of proliferation. Curr. Opin.
Genet Dev, 17, 287-293
Baker, N. E. (1987). Molecular cloning of sequences from wingless, a segment-polarity gene in Drosophila ; the spatial distribution of a transcript in embryos. EMBO J 6, 1765-1773.
More Information About Dr. Nicholas Baker
Material in this section is provided by individual faculty members who are solely responsible for its accuracy and content.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Ullmann Building, Room 805
Bronx, NY 10461
USA Today quotes Dr. Nicholas Baker about a recent paper in Nature that found a gene which may be responsible for the color and patterns that appear on insect wings.