Research Group of Dr David Traver, University of California

Research Group of Dr David Traver, University of California

David Traver is an assistant professor in the Division of Biology at the University of California, San Diego. His research team is focused on utilizing zebrafish to gain new insights into the biology of hematopoietic stem cells.

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) exist as rare populations within blood-forming tissues that both self-renew and generate all blood cell lineages for life. Relatively little is known of the genetic program underlying the embryonic development and subsequent maintenance of HSC fate. The development of zebrafish as a model system has introduced unbiased genetic approaches to the study of vertebrate blood formation. David’s lab is utilizing these advantages to fate map the earliest embryonic blood-forming cells. In addition, they have developed a variety of cell sorting and transplantation methods to test HSC function. Together, these approaches will address many long-standing questions in the development of the immune system.

David’s work has established a cellular foundation upon which the genetic bases of stem cell function can be dissected. His team is performing forward genetic and high-throughput expression screens to identify new gene functions in vertebrate stem cells. Novel genes that regulate HSC development, self-renewal, or lineage commitment will also be examined for similar roles in mammalian systems.

David took his bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington and he completed his Ph.D. in immunology at Stanford University. He did his postdoctoral training at Harvard University in the field of developmental biology before moving to his current position at UCSD.

Volocity Acquisition and Openlab are used extensively in the lab to control motorized fluorescence microscopes and capture Z stacks. They use Volocity Acquisition in time lapse experiments to make movies of migrating and circulating cells in the zebrafish embryo. They are planning to use their Volocity system in the future to do 4D experiments to document stem cell formation and migration at multiple positions over time. David plans to expand the Volocity system by adding the Volocity Restoration module to allow the team to perform deconvolution of data sets captured from the fluorescence microscope.

David writes "We have been very happy with Volocity Acquisition to both drive our motorized microscope to capture images and image sequences. It integrates beautifully with our Macintosh computer and is by far the most intuitive and user friendly package that I have used on any microscope. We are looking forward to extending our studies using the Volocity Restoration module."

For more information about the Traver lab, please click here to view the lab’s web site.

Fluorescence image of zebrafish embryos, which are transgenic for a LMO2:dsRED transgene, that marks all developing blood vessels. The green is an autofluorescent pigment in the eyes. The embryos are 48h old.