Greg Beitel, PhD
Professor, Center for Genetic Medicine; Feinberg School of Medicine
Drosophila tracheal system as a genetically tractable, in vivo, model for investigating epithelial tube size control (Beitel and Krasnow, 2000). The size of epithelial tube is critical to the function of most organs in complex animals. For example, the vascular system and kidney use tubes with highly regulated dimensions to transport fluids and provide surface area to allow for exchange metabolites. However, although tube size is defective or aberrant in multiple diseases and disorders, including polycystic kidney disease (PKD, incidence ~1/800 people), vascular malformations and cancer (vascular mimicry), very little is understood about the molecular mechanism by which cells make tubes of specific sizes. Subsequently, my lab and more than 15 other labs have used the tracheal system to make it one of the leading model systems for investigating epithelial tube size control.