Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Brian Duistermars

Reader 2

Jery Joy

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The development of the nervous system relies on precisely regulated processes, including neural stem cell division, which generates a diverse array of cell types crucial for brain formation. Lipids, which are fundamental components of cell membranes and signaling molecules, play essential roles in cellular processes. Here, we investigate the impact of lipids on the developing brain using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. This was done through the knockout of dLipin, a conserved lipid protein that regulates lipid metabolism and homeostasis. In this study, driver lines WorGal4, RepoGal4, and ProsGal4GFP, in conjunction with UAS lines UAS-LipinRNAi and UAS-mRFP-PASS (PA Sensor) were utilized to manipulate dLipin expression in distinct cell populations, including neuroblasts (NBs), glia, and ganglion mother cells (GMCs) during brain development. Through the targeted depletion of dLipin, we disrupted lipid dynamics and examined its consequences on asymmetric neuroblast division, a process critical for generating the many cells of the brain. Our results reveal that the depletion of dLipin specifically from the developing fly brain leads to irregular neuroblast divisions, resulting in a reduced number of neural stem cells, ultimately leading to a smaller brain size. This suggests a pivotal role for dLipin-mediated lipid synthesis in ensuring proper asymmetric division and neurogenesis. Furthermore, we employed the UAS-mRFP-PASS PA Sensor to monitor lipid levels dynamically, providing insights into lipid distribution and metabolism in response to dLipin perturbation. Our study highlights the significance of dLipin in regulating lipid metabolism for the precise execution of asymmetric neuroblast division during brain development. These findings contribute not only to our understanding of neural stem cell biology but also emphasize the broader importance of lipid homeostasis as a fundamental cellular process.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.