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Michael Buszczak: Tracking the big game in stem cell identity

The Journal of Cell Biology
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1083/jcb.1874pi
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untitled T H E J O U R N A L O F C E L L B IO L O G Y People & Ideas JCB • VOLUME 187 • NUMBER 4 • 2009446 G ene expression in stem cell populations is controlled by mechanisms such as chromatin organization and translational repression. Michael Buszczak is hot on the trail of the proteins involved in these events. Buszczak’s quest to explore the pro- cesses and proteins controlling fl y develop- ment started during his graduate work with Bill Segraves and Lynn Cooley at Yale, where he studied control of a critical check- point in oogenesis (1). While still there, he began the hunt for new proteins involved in the process by randomly inserting GFP throughout the fl y genome (an approach known as protein trapping) and setting up a high-throughput approach to identify targets with interesting expression patterns. Buszczak extended this strategy dur- ing his postdoctoral studies in Allan Spra- dling’s laboratory at the Carnegie Institu- tion, using the traps to probe for factors that control gene expression (2, 3). Now with his own laboratory at UT South- western, Buszczak is using his protein trap database (4) as well as new targeted knockout approaches to identify and ob- serve proteins involved in stem cell main- tenance (5). We tracked him down to talk about his safari through the fl y genome, and where he’s setting his sights next. ON SAFARI Where did you grow up? I grew up in Connecticut, in a town called Windsor, which is just north of Hart- ford. After fourth grade, we lived in South Africa for four years, and then moved back to Windsor. Did you ever go on Safari while you were in Africa? One of my fondest memories of South Africa was a trip that I took with my class. We spent an entire week camping and backpacking in one of the game parks with a ranger and our teacher. We saw all sorts of wildlife: lions, elephants, and rhi- noceroses. There was even one night where we had to sleep in a tree because the ranger saw evid

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