Assistant Professor of Biology

Education

BS, TRINITY WESTERN UNIVERSITY, 2001
MS, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, 2004
PHD, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, 2012

Current Projects

  • Using genetic and proteomic approaches to identify candidate genes controlling unc-53/Nav2 dependent developmental processes in C. elegans
  • Characterizing a role for unc-53/Nav2 in innate immune function in C. elegans
  • Studying the complex development of the C. elegans excretory cell

Research

Our lab uses the small but powerful soil-nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to study how cells and axons that make up the nervous system are precisely positioned, as well as ways that the nervous system contributes to normal functioning in whole organisms.

Cell migration and neural development.  Cell migration is essential for a wide variety of processes including the formation of the nervous system.   Also, abnormal cell migration can contribute to important disease processes such as cancer.  When neurons are born, they migrate sometimes long distances to precise positions where they undergo a process of differentiation, polarization, and extension.  Several molecules have been uncovered that control the migration of neurons and axons along either dorsoventral or anteroposterior axes in developing organisms.  We have been studying the gene unc-53/Nav2, a complex gene that acts as a relay between guidance molecules controlling neuronal navigation in the anteroposterior axis of C. elegans and the cytoskeleton of the cell.  Current work employs a number of cell biological, genetic, and biochemical techniques to explore the function of unc-53/Nav2 and to understand the signal transduction pathways that it controls.

Innate immunity in C. elegans.  Vertebrates (e.g. mice, humans) and invertebrates (e.g. flies, worms) share conserved innate immunity pathways necessary for protection from invading organisms.  Misregulation of innate immunity can result in numerous pathogenic processes and contributes to diseases such as sepsis, arthritis, asthma, and cancer.  We have discovered that the unc-53/Nav2 gene functions in conserved genetic pathways to ensure that organism maintain a robust immune response.  Current work explores the tissues and genetic pathways that require unc-53/Nav2 in C. elegans innate immunity.

Excretory cell development and physiologyC. elegans maintains fluid homeostasis through a single cell termed the excretory cell which is the worm equivalent of the human kidney.  The excretory cell serves as an excellent model cell for both cell development and fluid dynamics.  We are using a number of genetic approaches to understand the development and function of the excretory cell in C. elegans as a way to model development and kidney disease in humans.

I am always looking for good students to work with!  Thanks for your interest and please get in touch with me if you have questions.

Courses

BIOL 203 Human Anatomy & Physiology 4
A study of the organ systems of the human body, their gross and microscopic structure and their functions. Laboratory demonstrations and dissections. Three lectures, one three-hour lab. Prerequisite: one semester of college chemistry.

BIOL 204 Human Anatomy & Physiology 3
A study of the organ systems of the human body, their gross and microscopic structure and their functions. Laboratory demonstrations and dissections. Three lectures, one three-hour lab. With permission of the instructor, biology majors may take Biol 204 for two hours of lecture only. Prerequisite: Biol 203 and one semester of college chemistry.

BIOL 320 Human Pathophysiology I 3
An introductory study of the biology of diseases. Examines causes of disease and bodily response processes. A survey of both disorders that affect the body as a whole and disease of individual organs. Intended for students in allied health professions. Prerequisite: Biol 203, 204 or consent of instructor.

BIOL 321 Human Pathophysiology II 3
An introductory study of the principles of disease. Examines causes of disease and bodily response processes. A survey of both disorders that affect the body as a whole and disease of individual organs. Intended for students in allied health professions. Prerequisite: Biol 203, 204 or consent of instructor.

BIOL 302 Developmental Vertebrate Biology 4
Principles of vertebrate development with study of developing systems in chicken and human embryos. Material covered includes the molecular genetics of developmental processes and cancer.Three lectures and one lab per week. Prerequisite: Biol 110, 120 and 130.

BIOL 303 Vertebrate Physiology 4
A concentrated study of the principles of vertebrate physiology. Material covered includes various topics of significance in the biomedical field, such as cellular, nervous, muscular and cardiovascular physiology. Laboratory activities will cover the same topics, with a special focus on computer based data acquisition. Three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisities: Biol 110, 120, and 130 or Biol 203, 204.

Selected Publications

McShea MA, Schmidt KL, Dubuke ML, Baldiga CE, Sullender ME, Reis AL, Zhang S, O’Toole SM, Jeffers MC, Warden RM, Kenney AH, Gosselin J, Kuhlwein M, Hashmi SK, Stringham EG, Ryder EF. Abelson interactor-1 (ABI-1) interacts with MRL adaptor protein MIG-10 and is required in guided cell migrations and process outgrowth in C. elegans. Developmental Biology. 2013.  373(1):1-13.

Stringham EG, Marcus-Gueret N, Ramsay L., and Schmidt KL.  Live cell imaging of the cytoskeleton. Invited Chapter for Methods in Enzymology: Imaging and spectroscopic analysis in living cells. Elsevier Inc., Cambridge, MA, 2012.

Marcus-Gueret N, Schmidt KL, Stringham EG. Distinct cell guidance pathways controlled by the Rac and Rho GEF domains of UNC-73/TRIO in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics. 2012. 190(1):129-42.

Dorovini-Zis K, Schmidt KL, Huynh H, Fu W, Whitten RO, Milner D, Kamiza S, Molyneux M, Taylor TE.  The Neuropathology of Fatal Cerebral Malaria in Malawian Children.  American Journal of Pathology.  2011 178(5): 2148-56.

Schmidt KL, Marcus-Gueret N, Adeleye A, Webber J, Baillie D, Stringham EG. The cell migration molecule UNC-53/NAV2 is linked to the ARP2/3 complex by ABI-1. Development. 2009 136(4): 563-74.

Stringham EG, Schmidt KL. Navigating the cell: UNC-53 and the navigators, a family of cytoskeletal regulators with multiple roles in cell migration, outgrowth and trafficking. Cell Adh Migr. 2009  3(4): 13-19.

Schmidt KL, Fung J, Wong B, Auk B, Chang Y, and Isaac-Renton J.  Botulism: A decade in review—1996 to 2007. BCMJ 2009 51(3): 130-131.