16 March 2017
EFA-6 is a cell-intrinsic inhibitor of axon regrowth in Caenorhabditis elegans, possibly through limiting the growth of microtubules. Previous work has shown that on axon injury, EFA-6 relocalises from the plasma membrane to near the microtubule minus ends. Ngang Heok Tang from the Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, USA, wanted to test different kinases that might phosphorylate EFA-6 to control its localisation pattern in one-cell embryos, and relocalisation activity in axons. A Travelling Fellowship from Development allowed him to travel to Dr Fumio Motegi’s lab at the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory in Singapore. There, with help from students and postdocs in the Motegi lab, he learned new techniques including C. elegans embryo dissection, in vitro kinase assays, embryo imaging, RNAi knockdown and microtubule co-sedimentation, which allowed him to identify two kinases that might be responsible for the regulation of EFA-6 localisation patterns. Outside the lab, Ngang Heok also had the opportunity to present on his project at the Singapore Worm Club, the Seventh Asia Pacific Worm Meeting in Beijing, China and to give a ‘Genes to Cells’ seminar at Hiroshima University in Japan, gaining invaluable inputs on his project from the audience. In addition, the Travelling Fellowship from The Company of Biologists allowed Ngang Heok to meet with several group leaders at different institutes across Singapore to discuss his research. These connections have helped him to view his project from different perspectives and to gain an understanding of what different C. elegans groups in Singapore are working on.