David Fitch

David H. Fitch

Professor of Biology

Ph.D. 1986 (genetics), Connecticut; B.A. 1980 (biology), Dartmouth College.

Office Address: 

New York University
Department of Biology
1009 Silver Center
100 Washington Square East
New York, NY 10003-6688

Phone: 

(212) 998-8254

Fax: 

(212) 995-4015

Lab Homepage: 

http://www.nyu.edu/projects/fitch/

Areas of Research/Interest: 

Evolution of development, molecular systematics, and developmental genetics of the male tail in nematodes related to C. elegans.

List of Publications from Pubmed

Research:

Using the developmental genetic model system Caenorhabditis elegans, we are characterizing genes responsible for morphogenesis, a collection of fundamental developmental mechanisms that shape and organize cells into particular forms. C. elegans is used for this study because it is complex enough to share components and mechanisms of more complex multicellular animals, but is simple enough to be described in complete terms. The structure we are using as a model for morphogenesis is the sexually dimorphic tail tip. This simple feature is constructed of only 4 cells that, in males only, fuse very late in juvenile ("larval") development and change their cellular structure and position. This results in a blunt shape (the pointy shape of the hermaphrodite tail results from lack of morphogenetic change). We've finished a complete transmission electron microscopic reconstruction of these cellular events using serial sections, providing a descriptive foundation for further functional studies. We have isolated several mutations that fail at certain steps of male tail tip morphogenesis, and are currently cloning the genes defined by these mutations to understand their molecular functions.


Figure: Model of the 4tail tip cells in a C. elegans larva (cuticle removed). Click for a larger image.

Evolutionary changes in the development of the tail tip have also occurred. Using molecular phylogenetic analysis in combination with a developmental genetic approach, we are reconstructing the developmental changes that have occurred in male tails during the evolution of family Rhabditidae (of which C. elegans is a member). So far we have found several mutations that closely mimic evolutionary changes, suggesting candidate genes that could have been involved in evolutionary changes. These investigations will provide specific information about the genes and processes conserved in morphogenetic mechanisms as well as insight into the ways that these mechanisms can change to produce variation in multicellular form.

Teaching:

Evolution (V23.0058)-Fall term each year,
Principles of Evolution (G23.1069) - Spring term every even year,
Molecular Evolution Journal Club (G23.3018)-Fall term every year.

Participation in the following courses:
Foundations of Developmental Genetics I and II (G23.2130-31), Principles of Biology I (V23.0011), Molecular and Cell Biology II (V23.0022), Molecular Genetics (G23.2127), Advances in Biology (School of Education).

Biographical Sketch:

Professor, Department of Biology, New York University, Sept. 1, 2010 - present.

Associate Professor, 1998-2010 Molecular systematics and evolution of morphologenesis in rhabditid nematodes; developmental genetics of tail tip morphology in C. elegans.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, New York University, Sept. 1, 1993-98

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1990-1993. Developmental genetics and evolution of male morphogenesis in C. elegans and other nematodes (Mentor: Prof. Scott W. Emmons).

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dept. of Anatomy, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 1986-1989. Molecular evolution of primate ß-like globin genes (Mentor: Prof. Morris Goodman).

Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, 1981-1986. Comparative molecular genetics of Drosophila histone genes (Mentor: Prof. Linda D. Strausbaugh).

Biologist, Department of Energy Appropriate Alcohol Fuels Technology Grant, 1980-1982. Demonstration project for the bioconversion of waste cellulose into fuel-grade ethanol.

External Affiliations:

Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, Society of Systematic Biologists, Society for the Study of Evolution.

Fellowships/Honors:

Fulbright Fellowship, Monographic Research on the Systematics of Rhabditidae (Nematoda) and Integrated Student Training in Systematics, January 16, 2000-May 15, 2000; National Science Foundation CAREER Award, IBN-9506844, Genetic and Developmental Mechanisms of a Morphogenetic Program, August 17, 1995-August 16, 2000; Whitehead Fellowship for Junior Faculty in Biomedical or Biological Sciences, Phylogenetic Analysis of Morphogenesis in a Developmental Genetic Model at the Cellular and Ultrastructural Levels, September 1, 1997-August 31, 1999; National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, GM13652, Comparative Genetic Analysis of Nematode Development, February 1, 1990-January 31, 1993. Update your faculty profile

Selected Works:

Nematodes.
Curr Biol   (2013 Oct 7);   PMID: 24112976
Kiontke K, Fitch DH
 
A phylogeny and molecular barcodes for Caenorhabditis, with numerous new species from rotting fruits.
BMC Evol Biol   (2011);  PMC3277298 free full-text archive
Kiontke KC, Felix MA, Ailion M, Rockman MV, Braendle C, Penigault JB, Fitch DH
 
Overlap extension PCR: an efficient method for transgene construction.
Methods Mol Biol   (2011);   PMID: 22065455
Nelson MD, Fitch DH
 
Evolution
In: Riddle DL, Blumenthal T, Meyer BJ, Priess JR, editors. Evolution 2nd edition. Cold Spring Harbor (NY): Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 1997 Chapter 29   (1997);   PMID: 21413220
Fitch DHA, Kelley Thomas W
 
A bow-tie genetic architecture for morphogenesis suggested by a genome-wide RNAi screen in Caenorhabditis elegans.
PLoS Genet   (2011 Mar);  PMC3048373 free full-text archive
Nelson MD, Zhou E, Kiontke K, Fradin H, Maldonado G, Martin D, Shah K, Fitch DH
 
Phenotypic plasticity: different teeth for different feasts.
Curr Biol   (2010 Sep 14);   PMID: 20833313
Kiontke K, Fitch DH
 
Evolution of early embryogenesis in rhabditid nematodes.
Dev Biol   (2009 Nov 1);  PMC2763944 free full-text archive
Brauchle M, Kiontke K, MacMenamin P, Fitch DH, Piano F
 
Dropout alignment allows homology recognition and evolutionary analysis of rDNA intergenic spacers.
J Mol Evol   (2008 Apr);   PMID: 18363028
Ryu S, Do Y, Fitch DH, Kim W, Mishra B
 
Introduction to nematode evolution and ecology.
WormBook   (2005);   PMID: 18050395
Fitch DH
 
The phylogenetic relationships of Caenorhabditis and other rhabditids.
WormBook   (2005);   PMID: 18050394
Kiontke K, Fitch DH
 
Trends, stasis, and drift in the evolution of nematode vulva development.
Curr Biol   (2007 Nov 20);   PMID: 18024125
Kiontke K, Barriere A, Kolotuev I, Podbilewicz B, Sommer R, Fitch DH, Felix MA
 
Caenorhabditis evolution: if they all look alike, you aren't looking hard enough.
Trends Genet   (2007 Mar);   PMID: 17275130
Haag ES, Chamberlin H, Coghlan A, Fitch DH, Peters AD, Schulenburg H
 
Novel gain-of-function alleles demonstrate a role for the heterochronic gene lin-41 in C. elegans male tail tip morphogenesis.
Dev Biol   (2006 Sep 1);   PMID: 16806150
Del Rio-Albrechtsen T, Kiontke K, Chiou SY, Fitch DH
 
Evolution: an ecological context for C. elegans.
Curr Biol   (2005 Sep 6);   PMID: 16139194
Fitch DH
 
Autosomal genes of autosomal/X-linked duplicated gene pairs and germ-line proliferation in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Genetics   (2005 Apr);  PMC1449572 free full-text archive
Maciejowski J, Ahn JH, Cipriani PG, Killian DJ, Chaudhary AL, Lee JI, Voutev R, Johnsen RC, Baillie DL, Gunsalus KC, Fitch DH, Hubbard EJ
 
Caenorhabditis phylogeny predicts convergence of hermaphroditism and extensive intron loss.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   (2004 Jun 15);  PMC428462 free full-text archive
Kiontke K, Gavin NP, Raynes Y, Roehrig C, Piano F, Fitch DH
 
The genome sequence of Caenorhabditis briggsae: a platform for comparative genomics.
PLoS Biol   (2003 Nov);  PMC261899 free full-text archive
Stein LD, Bao Z, Blasiar D, Blumenthal T, Brent MR, Chen N, Chinwalla A, Clarke L, Clee C, Coghlan A, Coulson A, D'Eustachio P, Fitch DH, Fulton LA, Fulton RE, Griffiths-Jones S, Harris TW, Hillier LW, Kamath R, Kuwabara PE, Mardis ER, Marra MA, Miner TL, Minx P, Mullikin JC, Plumb RW, Rogers J, Schein JE, Sohrmann M, Spieth J, Stajich JE, Wei C, Willey D, Wilson RK, Durbin R, Waterston RH
 
Absence of wolbachia in nonfilariid nematodes.
J Nematol   (2003 Sep);  PMC2620650 free full-text archive
Bordenstein SR, Fitch DH, Werren JH
 
One small step for worms, one giant leap for "Bauplan"?
Evol Dev   (2002 Jul-Aug);   PMID: 12168615
Fitch DH, Sudhaus W
 
TLP-1 is an asymmetric cell fate determinant that responds to Wnt signals and controls male tail tip morphogenesis in C. elegans.
Development   (2002 Mar);   PMID: 11880358
Zhao X, Yang Y, Fitch DH, Herman MA
 
Evolution of "rhabditidae" and the male tail.
J Nematol   (2000 Sep);  PMC2620451 free full-text archive
Fitch DH
 
Morphogenesis of the Caenorhabditis elegans male tail tip.
Dev Biol   (1999 Mar 1);   PMID: 10049567
Nguyen CQ, Hall DH, Yang Y, Fitch DH
 
Evolution of male tail development in rhabditid nematodes related to Caenorhabditis elegans.
Syst Biol   (1997 Mar);   PMID: 11975351
Fitch DH
 
Variable cell positions and cell contacts underlie morphological evolution of the rays in the male tails of nematodes related to Caenorhabditis elegans.
Dev Biol   (1995 Aug);   PMID: 7649384
Fitch DH, Emmons SW
 
18S ribosomal RNA gene phylogeny for some Rhabditidae related to Caenorhabditis.
Mol Biol Evol   (1995 Mar);   PMID: 7700158
Fitch DH, Bugaj-Gaweda B, Emmons SW
 
Widespread occurrence of the Tc1 transposon family: Tc1-like transposons from teleost fish.
Mol Gen Genet   (1994 Sep 28);   PMID: 7969029
Radice AD, Bugaj B, Fitch DH, Emmons SW
 
Low codon bias and high rates of synonymous substitution in Drosophila hydei and D. melanogaster histone genes.
Mol Biol Evol   (1993 Mar);   PMID: 8487638
Fitch DH, Strausbaugh LD
 
Fetal recruitment of anthropoid gamma-globin genes. Findings from phylogenetic analyses involving the 5'-flanking sequences of the psi gamma 1 globin gene of spider monkey Ateles geoffroyi.
J Mol Biol   (1992 Apr 5);   PMID: 1569563
Hayasaka K, Fitch DH, Slightom JL, Goodman M
 
Pattern formation in the nematode epidermis: determination of the arrangement of peripheral sense organs in the C. elegans male tail.
Development   (1991 Oct);   PMID: 1782863
Baird SE, Fitch DH, Kassem IA, Emmons SW
 
Duplication of the gamma-globin gene mediated by L1 long interspersed repetitive elements in an early ancestor of simian primates.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   (1991 Aug 15);  PMC52302 free full-text archive
Fitch DH, Bailey WJ, Tagle DA, Goodman M, Sieu L, Slightom JL
 
Phylogenetic scanning: a computer-assisted algorithm for mapping gene conversions and other recombinational events.
Comput Appl Biosci   (1991 Apr);   PMID: 2059846
Fitch DH, Goodman M
 
Molecular evolution of the psi eta-globin gene locus: gibbon phylogeny and the hominoid slowdown.
Mol Biol Evol   (1991 Mar);   PMID: 2046542
Bailey WJ, Fitch DH, Tagle DA, Czelusniak J, Slightom JL, Goodman M
 
On the origins of tandemly repeated genes: does histone gene copy number in Drosophila reflect chromosomal location?
Chromosoma   (1990 Apr);   PMID: 2113451
Fitch DH, Strausbaugh LD, Barrett V
 
Primate evolution at the DNA level and a classification of hominoids.
J Mol Evol   (1990 Mar);   PMID: 2109087
Goodman M, Tagle DA, Fitch DH, Bailey W, Czelusniak J, Koop BF, Benson P, Slightom JL
 
Molecular history of gene conversions in the primate fetal gamma-globin genes. Nucleotide sequences from the common gibbon, Hylobates lar.
J Biol Chem   (1990 Jan 15);   PMID: 2295619
Fitch DH, Mainone C, Goodman M, Slightom JL
 
Molecular phylogeny of the family of apes and humans.
Genome   (1989);   PMID: 2687100
Goodman M, Koop BF, Czelusniak J, Fitch DH, Tagle DA, Slightom JL
 
The spider monkey psi eta-globin gene and surrounding sequences: recent or ancient insertions of LINEs and SINEs?
Genomics   (1988 Oct);   PMID: 2852163
Fitch DH, Mainone C, Slightom JL, Goodman M
 
Updated on 04/05/2014