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Welcome to the Shakes’ Lab

Diane C. Shakes, Professor of Biology


Education: B.A. (Biology) Pomona College; Ph.D. (Biology) Johns Hopkins University (Advisor: Sam Ward); Postdoc Cornell University (Advisor: Ken Kemphues)

Professor at Univ. of Houston (1991-95) Professor at William & Mary (1995-present)

English-Stonehouse Faculty Fellow (Fall 2023 – Spring 25)

Research Interests: Cell and developmental biology, Post-transcriptional process of building a functional sperm cell, The cell biology of asymmetric cell divisions and skewed sex ratios

Teaching (Rotating): BIOL310: Molecular Cell Biology; BIOL407: Cell Biology Lab; BIOL460: Cell biology related seminar courses; BIOL106: Disease, Biomedicine, and Biomedical Research; BIOL602: Research Design and Methods

To learn more – explore our research and meet the lab crew (past and present)

Lab updates

Nov 2023 Invited News & Views article about C. elegans sperm shedding excess mitochondria is published in Nature Cell. Sperm bud mitochondria to adjust the numbers.

Fall 2023 In September, a Shakes’ lab contingent presented posters at the Triangle Cytoskeleton Meeting – enjoying the science and lab road trip. Recent alumni news includes Kayleigh Morrison passing her qualifying exams at Cornell, Jackson Peterson defending his PhD thesis, Marc Presler being promoted to Associate Director of Biology at Applied Biomath, and Don Fox being promoted to full professor – congrats to you all!

July 2023 A new paper in Current Biology – SPE-51, a sperm-secreted protein with an immunoglobulin-like domain, is required for fertilization in C. elegans features a mutant that I helped isolate in a genetic screen while I was doing a sabbatical in Andy Singson’s lab at Rutgers. Cool finding that sperm secreted proteins are required for fertilization in both humans and C. elegans.

July 2023 Belated congrats to graduating senior Cate McMahon (23′)! It’s a busy lab this summer with three rising senior honors students (Corinne Vanella, Jack Howell, and Beatrice Tyson) and one rising junior Emily Larsen.

Dec 2022 It was so great to see former Shakes’ lab folks at the latest ASCB meeting (Karen Resendes, Alissa Richmond Armstrong, Kari Price, and Kayleigh Morrison). Alissa was a featured speaker. Also heard the exciting news that Lamia Wahba will be joining Rockefeller as a new faculty member in January!

Dec 1 2022 Our Auanema paper (see below) was selected a featured article in the December issue of Genetics!

Oct 25 2022 Our latest Auanema rhodensis paper was e-published in Genetics! Key to this publication was the senior honors thesis work of co-first author Emily Xu!

Al-Yazeedi T, Xu EL, Kaur J, Shakes DC, and Pires-daSilva A. Lagging X chromatids specify the orientation of asymmetric organelle partitioning in XX spermatocytes of Auanema rhodensis.

Sept 22 2022 Our NHR-23 RNAseq paper was published in G3 (Genes, Genomes, Genetics)!

Ragle JM, Morrison KN, Vo AA, Johnson ZE, Lopez JH, Rechtsteiner A, Shakes DC, and Ward JD. NHR-23 and SPE-44 regulate distinct sets of genes during C. elegans spermatogenesis