Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Christopher Noetzel, PhD

As different tissues in the body form, cells need to undergo a complex, precisely timed series of differentiation programs to form specialized cell types. Importantly, premature or delayed initiation of these programs can contribute to cancer formation. However, how timing of cellular differentiation is encoded on a molecular level is poorly understood. Dr. Noetzel is using the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum as a simplified model of eukaryotic differentiation. After infecting the intestinal lining of a mammalian host, these single-celled parasites undergo exactly three rounds of asexual replication before collectively differentiating into gametes. These studies will investigate how this hard-wired, intrinsic developmental timer is encoded. In his project, Dr. Noetzel aims to understand how these parasites "count to three," which will inform our basic understanding of how eukaryotic cells keep track of time during development. Dr. Noetzel received his PhD from the Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, New York and his MSc and BSc from Georg-August-University, Göttingen.


Project title: "How do eukaryotic cells count cell cycles? Intrinsic regulation of quantized asexual replication cycles and commitment to sexual differentiation in the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum"
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Boris Striepen, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Microbiology