Major in Psychobiology

Bachelor of Science Degree • School of Arts and Sciences

Psychobiology Program Faculty

Dr. Jessica H. Thomas , Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

Jessica Thomas
Phone: (315) 792-3755
Office: 161 Gordon Science Center


My studies focus on biomedical research, specifically how cells fuse in the developing nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans).

 Cell-cell fusion is a developmental process during which individual cells merge together by fusing their plasma membranes and forming a shared cytoplasm.  The result is a multinucleated cell, which is also known as a syncytium.  Cell fusion is an essential process for fertilization to occur and to create, pattern, and maintain tissues such as skeletal muscle, bone, placenta, and the vertebrate eye lens.  In addition, cell fusion is shown to be involved in insect wound healing and fungal colony formation as well as cancer and stem cell biology (Shinn-Thomas and Mohler, 2011).  The only known proteins not of viral origin, EFF-1 and AFF-1 (a.k.a C. elegans fusion family (ceFF)), responsible for fusing cells have been identified in C. elegans (Mohler et al., 2002; Sapir et al., 2007)I investigate the molecular and cellular regulation of EFF-1 and AFF-1 in cells fated to fuse in C. elegans using a variety of genetic, molecular, cellular, and microscopy techniques in order to further elucidate a common cell-cell fusion mechanism.

Research with me usually involves working on some aspect of examining how cells fuse in C. elegans (a.k.a. “worms”).  However, I am also interested in and welcoming of collaborative research with other professors and their research.  After we discuss your interests, my interests, and the unanswered questions in which we are both interested, we will pick a problem for you to tackle, which very well may (and hopefully) lead to additional interesting questions.  Please visit the link to my lab web site to learn more about ongoing and potential research projects in my lab.


Sharon Wise, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
161 Gordon Science Center

(315) 792-3356
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(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502