Dr. Avital Rodal

Principal Investigator

CV here

Mentoring statement here


Dr. Steven Del Signore

Postdoctoral Fellow

Mutations in the gene OCRL1 are linked to Lowe Syndrome and Dent-2 disease in humans. Despite a number of studies that have identified diverse roles for OCRL1 in normal cell function, it remains unclear precisely how mutations in this gene lead to disease. To address this question, I am currently using the fruit fly as a model to investigate how OCRL1 contributes to normal physiology in a complex in vivo system.


Dr. Cassie Blanchette

Postdoctoral Fellow

My graduate work at UMass Medical School in Worcester focused on the development and maintenance of neural architecture in C. elegans. Since joining the Rodal lab, I have been using the Drosophila neuromuscular junction as a model to study the mechanisms that regulate extracellular vesicle trafficking within an intact nervous system.


Dr. Biljana Ermanoska

Postdoctoral Fellow

Actin is the most abundant cytoskeletal protein at presynaptic terminals, where it is implicated in many functions, ranging from vesicle mobilization and traffic to morphogenesis and stability of the synapse. However, little is known about how diverse types of actin assemblies are organized and coordinated at these sites. I aim to characterize the landscape of actin cytoskeleton in presynaptic terminals at the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ), our favorite model synapse, by using diffraction limited and structured illumination super-resolution microscopy. In addition, I would love to learn more about the protein components other than actin itself that contribute to the formation, stability and temporal control of the actin assemblies at the NMJ.


Dr. Erica Dresselhaus

Postdoctoral Fellow

Exosomes are small extracellular vesicles released from the endosome system. Exosomes are involved in cell-to-cell communication and can also facilitate the spread of pathogenic proteins in neurodegenerative diseases.  It is not fully understood how exosomes are formed in neurons; thus, I am investigating neuronal endosome dynamics (such as maturation, fusion, and trafficking) and how these dynamics affect cargo function and exosome release from the neuron.  Using the Drosophila NMJ as my model system, I am using a variety of genetic manipulations and imaging techniques to investigate endosome dynamics and exosome release.


Dr. Mónica Quiñones-Frías

Postdoctoral Fellow

Project description pending...


Dr. Matthew Pescosolido

I am interested in understanding the role of extracellular vesicles in the nervous system. Using the Drosophila neuromuscular junction as a model synapse, I am examining how neuronal activity affects the cargo sorting, release, and uptake of extracellular vesicles.


Erin Burns, M.S.

Laboratory Manager

I am the Laboratory Manager for the Rodal and Goode labs. I am a big fan of color coordination and organizing, and enjoy hiking with my dog, learning new languages, and talking about why octopuses are so great. 


Valeriy Znakharchuk

Fly Kitchen Manager


Amy Scalera

Graduate Student


Exosomes are small endosome-derived vesicles that can transport a variety of cargo such as RNA, DNA, lipids, and proteins between cells or remove these cargo from cells for degradation.  Our lab has identified a variety of proteins that are important for membrane trafficking.  I am interested in how these proteins affect the cargo that goes into exosomes.  I am using a variety of techniques in both Drosophila and mammalian cell culture to answer this question.

CV here


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Undergraduate Researchers









Former Lab Members



Lab Pets

Galen (the more mature Shepherd/Hound mix) and his younger, spunky sidekick Rylie (a fuzzy mutt) are a constant source of adorable lab hijinks. They are responsible for peanut butter cleanup, bone collecting, and just being cute.