Kathy Foltz

Professor, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
and Marine Science Institute
and College of Creative Studies (Biology)
photo of Kathy Foltz

Our research efforts are focused on how eggs turn into embryos. How do sperm and egg interact? What is the precise mechanism of sperm-induced egg activation? How is calcium release regulated? How does this result in essentially launching the egg into the developmental pathway? Why have some animals involved exquisitely fine tuned calcium signaling circuits? Marine invertebrates, such as sea urchin, sea star and ascidian are terrific model systems in which to study these fundamentally important – and broadly conserved – events. The eggs and embryos of these animals, which are sister taxa to the vertebrates, are relatively easy to obtain, culture and manipulate. We apply molecular, biochemical, cellular imaging, proteomic, and genetic approaches to interrogate these earliest steps in the development of an organism.

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