Michael J. Galko, Ph.D.
Present Title and Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
- Tissue repair responses/wound healing
- Nociceptive (pain) sensitization
- Drosophila genetics
Multicellular organisms have evolved a variety of repair responses to cope with tissue damage. Some of these responses, such as wound closure, are aimed at restoring structure and function to the damaged tissue while others, such as inflammation and nociceptive sensitization, are aimed at protecting the organism from further infection or injury.
Our laboratory works to identify the elusive signals that initiate and terminate different aspects of the organismal tissue repair response, as well as the genes that are required to execute each response. Ultimately, we wish to understand in molecular detail how the activities of diverse damage-responsive cell types are coordinated in space and time to give a functional tissue repair program.
To that end, we have developed a variety of tissue repair/response assays in the highly genetically tractable model organism, Drosophila melanogaster. We focus our efforts on three critical responses: epidermal wound closure; inflammation (recruitment of blood cells to the site of injury); and nociceptive sensitization (lowering of the threshold for sensing painful stimuli following injury).
All of our projects involve extensive use of developing genetic technologies in Drosophila. In particular, we are employing tissue-specific in vivo RNAi-based genetic screens to identify the full complement of genes involved in our processes of interest. Given that tissue repair responses are an ancient survival mechanism of multicellular animals, we expect that the functional importance of many of the genes we identify will be conserved between flies and vertebrates.
View a complete list of publications.