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Arash Bashirullah, PhD

Associate Professor
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Executive Director, Lachman Institute

Intercellular communication: uncovering mechanisms that coordinate the development of multicellular organisms

Development after embryogenesis requires exquisite control of signaling between individual tissues to build an adult organism of the proper shape and size. This intercellular communication is directed by groups of specialized secretory cells that release systemic signal these signals then orchestrate biological responses in target tissues. Once a tissue has received a signal, it can respond by growing, remodeling, or dying. Thus, the interplay between secretion of systemic signals and response in receiving tissues is essential to unfold the genetically-encoded developmental program of multicellular organisms. One of the most dramatic examples of this interplay between signals and responses occurs during insectmetamorphosis, the developmental stage that transforms a crawling larva into a flying adult. In the Bashirullah Lab, we combine forward genetic approaches with cellular and molecular biology to uncover novel essential genes and new biological processes that regulate the onset of and progression through Drosophilametamorphosis. We have discovered important new roles for endocrine and exocrine biology during metamorphosis that have important implications for human development and disease.

Background: Arash received a BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Winnipeg and a PhD in Biology from the California Institute of Technology. He did his postdoctoral research at the University of Utah before joining the Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty in August 2007. He is also a PhD trainer in Genetics, in Cellular and Molecular Biology, and in the Molecular Biosciences Training Grant Program. Arash was named a Kavli Fellow in 2014, a program co-sponsored by the US National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the School of Pharmacy Student Senate Teacher of the Year in 2016. Arash serves as an Associate Editor for G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics.


  • PhD Biology - California Institute of Technology
  • BS Chemistry - University of Winnipeg
Highlighted Publications:
  • Neuman, S.D. Bashirullah, A. (2018). Hobbit regulates intracellular trafficking to drive insulin-dependent growth during Drosophila development. Development. 145(11): dev161356.
  • Pallilyil, S., Zhu, J., Baker, L.R., Neuman, S.D., Bashirullah, A., Kumar, J.P. (2018). Allocation of distinct organ fates from a precursor field requires a shift in expression and function of gene regulatory networks. PLoS Genetics. 14(1): e1007185
  • Kang Y, Neuman SD and Bashirullah A (2017). Tango7 regulates cortical activity of caspases during reaper-triggered changes in tissue elasticity. Nature Communications, 8(1):603.
  • Kang Y, Marischuk K, Castelvecchi GD, Bashirullah A (2017). HDAC Inhibitors disrupt programmed resistance to apoptosis during Drosophila development. G3, 7(6): 1985-1993.
  • Weasner BM, Weasner BP, Neuman SD, Bashirullah A, Kumar JP (2016). Retinal expression of the Drosophila eyes absent gene is controlled by several cooperatively acting cis-regulatory elements. PLoS Genetics, 12(12):e1006462.
  • Kang Y, Bashirullah A (2014). A steroid-controlled global switch in sensitivity to apoptosis during Drosophila development. Developmental Biology, 386(1): 34-41.
  • Ihry RJ, Bashirullah A (2014). Genetic control of specificity to steroid-triggered responses in Drosophila. Genetics, 196(3): 767-80.
  • Neuman SD, Ihry RJ, Gruetzmacher KM, Bashirullah A (2014). INO80-dependent regression of ecdysone-induced transcriptional responses regulates developmental timing in Drosophila. Developmental Biology, 387(2): 229-39.
  • Sapiro AL, Ihry RJ, Buhr DL, Konieczko KM, Ives SM, Engstrom AK, Wleklinski NP, Kopish KJ, Bashirullah A (2013). Rapid recombination mapping for high-throughput genetic screens in Drosophila. G3, 3(12): 2313-2319.
  • Ihry RJ, Sapiro AL, Bashirullah A (2012). Translational control by DEAD box RNA helicase belle regulates ecdysone-triggered transcriptional cascades. PLoS Genetics, 8(11):e1003085.