Tom Hays, PhD

Professor and Head, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development

Tom Hays

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-2949

Office Address:
235K Moos
515 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455



Neurodegeneration, Cancer cell transformation, Drosophila


Research Summary/Interests

The Hays’ laboratory is applying genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches in Drosophila to study the molecular regulation of motor proteins and intercellular transport.

Mitotic mechanisms: Our mutational analysis of the Drosophila dynein motor protein revealed its essential function in mitotic cell divisions within living embryos. We are testing the hypothesis that phosphorylation of dynein regulates the stripping of checkpoint proteins from kinetochores and mitotic progression. To analyze the functional significance of identified phosphorylation sites, target residues are systematically mutated and mutant transgenes expressed in vivo.

Neuronal transport: The extended morphology of axons and dendrites makes post-mitotic neurons especially dependent on polarized transport, and ideal for studying the regulation of transport. In neurons, motor proteins transport critical signals over long distances to regulate neuronal survival and cell death, as well as to trigger the onset of neurodegenerative disease or neuronal regeneration. Our recent efforts are directed at studying neuronal transport in Drosophila to ask whether disruption of transport is a convergence point in the development of neurodegenerative disease. We are pursuing the gene products and mechanisms that regulate motor proteins, and neuronal transport in Drosophila (fly) models of neurodegeneration.


Selected Publications

Materassi, D., Roychowdhury, S., Hays, T., Salapaka, M. 2013 An exact approach for studying cargo transport by an ensemble of molecular motors. BMC Biophysics 6:14.

Smith RB, Machamer JB, Kim NC, Hays, TS, Marques G. (2012) Relay of retrograde synaptogenic signals through axonal transport of BMP receptors. J Cell Sci. 15:3752-64. PMCID: PMC3462079

Reis GF, Yang G, Szpankowski L, Weaver C, Shah SB, Robinson JT, Hays TS, Danuser G, Goldstein LS. (2012) Molecular motor function in axonal transport in vivo probed by genetic and computational analysis in Drosophila. Mol. Biol. Cell. 23:1700-14. PMCID: PMC3338437 4.

Aggarwal, T., Materassi, D., Davison, R., Hays, T.S., and Salapaka, M. (2012) Detection of Steps in Single Molecule Data. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering v.5(1):14-31. PMCID: PMC3743561.

Lorenzo D, Li M.-G, Mische, S., Armbrust, K, Ranum, L and Hays TS. (2010) Spectrin mutations that cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 5 impair axonal transport and induce neurodegeneration in Drosophila.J. Cell Biol. 189:143- 58. PMCID: PMC2854382.

Anderson, MA, Jodoin, JN, Lee, E., Hales, KG, Hays, TS and Lee LA. (2009) Asunder is a critical regulator of dynein-dynactin localization during Drosophila spermatogenesis. Mol. Biol. Cell. 20:2709- 2721. PMCID: PMC2688550

Mische S, He Y, Ma L, Li M, Serr M, Hays TS. (2008) Dynein light intermediate chain: an essential subunit that contributes to spindle checkpoint inactivation. Mol. Biol. Cell. 19:4918-29. PMCID: PMC2575169

Boylan KL, Mische S, Li M, Marques G, Morin X, Chia W, Hays TS. (2008) Motility screen identifies Drosophila IGF-II mRNA-binding protein, a Zipcode-Binding Protein acting in oogenesis and synaptogenesis. PLoS 4:e36. PMCID: PMC2242817