Ana Regina Campos, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology
Chicken Soup for the Fly Pusher’s Soul
Dr. Campos was a graduate student in Kalpana White’s lab from 1982 through 1988 during which she studied nervous-system development in the fruit fly.
Dr. Campos began her presentation by paying tribute to Kalpana White and Jeff Hall’s early guidance in forging her academic identity and for the nuggets of wisdom that came her way as a graduate student with Kalpana and having Jeff as a member of her thesis committee. In her talk, Dr. Campos discussed two projects currently ongoing in her lab. One project, in collaboration with Andre Bedard, is aimed at dissecting the function of a human tumor suppressor gene called Menin. Using Drosophila as the model organism, this collaboration has led to the discovery that the Menin gene is required for the fly’s response to environmental stress, and in this context it functions to maintain the integrity of the fly genome.
The second project is a classical screen for mutations that disrupt the Drosophila larval response to light. In this part of the talk, Dr. Campos described the behavior and the assay used, the phenotype of the mutant strain identified, and some aspects of the expression and possible function of this gene. Dr. Campos mentioned these experiments because they nicely illustrate many of the fundamental principles of behavioral and developmental genetics that were passed on to all of those who spent time in Kalpana’s and Jeff’s labs.
Dr. Campos also conveyed the longlasting impact of being around Kalpana and Jeff (and Michael Rosbash, too) from a personal point of view. Her time at Brandeis has provided her with a lifelong treasure of wonderful memories that she reaches for often. Dr. Campos spoke of having left Kalpana’s lab with a handful of brilliant friends, which she counts on for comfort and advice, scientific or otherwise. This group of people, in which Kalpana occupies a central position, has traveled far, both with Dr. Campos, and to see Dr. Campos in Canada and Brazil. She considers herself very lucky, and for this she wants to “thank Michael for opening this door, Kalpana for giving me shelter and overlooking many of my shortcomings, and Jeff for providing the soundtrack (rants and good music).”