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Karp, Xantha




Dr. Karp received her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Human Biology and Anthropology from the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. She received her Ph.D. in Genetics and Development from Columbia University in New York, NY where she worked with Dr. Iva Greenwald. She did postdoctoral research at Dartmouth College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School with Dr. Victor Ambros, and then returned to the Greenwald lab at Columbia University before coming to CMU. Dr. Karp has been a Biology faculty member at CMU since 2012. She teaches genetics and cell biology and performs genetics research studying how development is affected by diapause and how stem cells remain healthy while in cell-cycle arrest. Dr. Karp’s work is funded by the NIH and NSF.

More about Xantha Karp

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

Courses Taught

  • BIO 112, Foundations of Cell Biology
  • BIO 211, Foundations of Genetics
  • BIO 211H, Foundations of Genetics Honors Laboratory
  • BIO 324, Cell Biology
  • BIO 325, Biotechnology
  • BIO 326, Genetics
  • BIO 546, Molecular Genetics Laboratory
  • BIO 629, Topics in Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics