Xantha Karp
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Genetics, Cell Biology
Biosciences 3405

Dr. Karp is a professor of Biology at Central Michigan University


  • B.S., University of Toronto, 1995
  • Ph.D., Columbia University, 2004

Teaching Areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics

Research Fields

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

Current Research Projects

The development of many stem cells and progenitor cells is interrupted by a period of quiescence, which is a reversible non-proliferating state. Quiescent progenitor cells must "remember" their precise place in their developmental program, neither differentiating prematurely, nor losing their tissue identity. We use the microscopic nematode C. elegans to investigate how this is accomplished. When young C. elegans larvae are cultured in adverse environmental conditions they pause their development by entering dauer quiescence, an arrested, non-aging and stress-resistant stage. If conditions improve, dauer larvae recover and complete development normally. This indicates that progenitor cells in wild-type dauer larvae maintain their developmental potential, or the ability to give rise to all proper cell types. My lab uses genetic screens to discover the mechanisms that enable the maintenance of developmental potential during dauer quiescence.


  • Karp X. (2016). Working with dauer larvae. WormBook. doi: 10.1895/wormbook.1.180.1. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Nika L*, Gibson T*, Konkus R*, Karp X. (2016). Fluorescent Beads Are a Versatile Tool for Staging Caenorhabditis elegans in Different Life Histories. G3. 6(7):1923-33. . *CMU student​
  • Alessi AF, Khivansara V, Han T, Freeberg MA, Moresco JM, Tu PG, Montoye E*, Yates JR, Karp X, and Kim JK. (2015). Casein kinase II promotes target silencing by miRISC through direct phosphorylation of the DEAD-box RNA helicase CGH-1. PNAS. 112(52):E7213-22. *CMU student.​ ​
  • Karp X., Greenwald I. (2013). Control of cell fate plasticity and maintenance of multipotency by DAF-16/FOXO in quiescent Caenorhabditis elegans. PNAS. 110: 2181-2186.
  • Karp X., Ambros V. (2012). Dauer larva quiescence alters the circuitry of microRNA pathways regulating cell fate progression in C. elegans. Development. 139: 2177-2186.
  • Karp X., Hammel M., Ow MC, Ambros V. (2011). Effect of life history on microRNA expression during C. elegans development. RNA. 17: 639-651.
  • Karp X., Ambros V. (2011). The developmental timing regulator hbl-1 modulates the dauer formation decision in C. elegans. Genetics. 187(1): 345-353.
  • Hammell CM*, Karp X*, Ambros V. (2009). A feedback circuit involving let-7-family microRNAs and DAF-12 integrates environmental signals and developmental timing in C. elegans. PNAS. 106(44): 18668-18673. *Equal contribution