Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

Jennifer Mierisch


Associate Professor
Ph.D. 2007, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Developmental Biology
B.A., Northwestern University, Molecular, and Cellular Biology
Phone: 773.508.2337
Fax: 773.508.3646


We use the Drosophila gonad and developing nervous system to explore the molecular mechanisms regulating the establishment and maintenance of cell-cell interactions and cell differentiation during development. The gonads are a particularly valuable model system to explore these mechanisms as one can observe the interaction of germline and somatic cells throughout oogenesis and spermatogenesis. The identification of genes that regulate cell-cell interactions and differentiation in the gonad has led us to explore how these genes function in other developmental contexts, namely the developing nervous system. We are particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms regulating the establishment of neuron-glia interactions and glial differentiation. Glia plays a critical role in nervous system structure and function by ensheathing neurons to promote efficient function, providing trophic support, clearing debris, and forming the blood-brain barrier. We are using a combination of genetics, immunohistochemistry, and behavioral assays to further characterize the molecular mechanisms regulating gametogenesis and glial development. By examining the genetic mechanisms regulating the establishment of tissue structure and cell differentiation we can better understand how defects in these genes contribute to disease across species and different tissue types.


Davis, M. J., Talbot, D., and J. C. Jemc. (2019). Assay for Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity in Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Visualized Experiments: 151.

Hans, V., Wendt, T., Patel, A., Patel, M., Talbot, D., and J. C. Jemc. (2018) Characterization of the Role of Raw in Glial Development in the Drosophila Eye Disc. Genesis: e23254.

Luong, D., Perez, L., and J. C. Jemc. (2018) Identification of a Novel Regulator of Glial Development. PLoS One 13: e0198161.

Silva, D., Olsen, K. W., Bednarz, M. N., Droste, A., Lenkeit, C. P., Chaharbakhshi, E., Temple-Wood, E. R., and J. C. Jemc. (2016) Regulation of Gonad Morphogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster by BTB Family Transcription Factors. PLoS One 11: e0167283.

Chaharbakhshi, E. and J. C. Jemc. (2016) Broad-complex, Tramtrack, and Bric-à-brac (BTB) Proteins: Critical Regulators of Development. Genesis 54, 505-518.

Silva, D. and J.C. Jemc. (2015) Sorting Out Identities: An Educational Primer for Use with “Novel Tools for Genetic Manipulation of Follicle Stem Cells in the Drosophila Ovary Reveal an Integrin-Dependent Transition from Quiescence to Proliferation”. Genetics 201: 13-22.