Forte Lab: Members

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Mike Forte at TalladegaMike Forte (
BS, University of Notre Dame, 1973
PhD, University of Washington, 1978

I was raised in Seattle, WA and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame. Missing the Northwest, I decided to return to the Seattle for my graduate training in the Dept. of Genetics at the University of Washington. My thesis project focused on initial attempts to understand chromosome structure using yeast as an experimental model. After finishing my Ph.D. work, my attention turned to something new, and I spent four years in the laboratory of Dr. Ching Kung at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI as a postdoctoral fellow. My projects there focused on trying to understand the molecular basis of a variety of ion channel mutants that had been generated in the protozoan Paramecium. My first faculty position was in the Dept. of Biology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH where I continued to work on Paramecium but became fascinated by trying to understand the nature of the protein conformational changes driven by voltage changes in ion channels. For a number of years, we modeled these changes within the context of a mitochondrial protein, exploiting the powerful genetics available in the yeast system. While at Case, I began my work on cell signaling in Drosophila, which eventually focused on the mechanisms responsible for synaptic growth. In 1986, I jumped at the chance to move back to the Northwest and was a founding member of the Vollum Institute. More recently, in collaboration with Dennis Bourdette, my lab is the using mouse genetics and mouse models of MS to try to understand the role of mitochondria in the axonal severing that results in the permanent disability accompanying this disease.


Kristen JonesKristen Jones (
BA, Concordia University, 1999

I graduated from Concordia University in Portland with a BA in Biology. I then spent two years in Dr. Tom Soderling's lab working with the Drosophila homolog of Ca2+/calmodulin kinase I, and five years in Dr. Sarah Smolik's lab working on Drosophila orthologs of CBP. In 2007, I joined Mike Forte's lab and have spent the last few years on all aspects of mouse molecular biology, both protein and DNA. I also make sure the lab runs as smoothly as possible by managing the ordering of all supplies.


Jackie ParkerJackie Parker (
BS, Portland State University, 2003

As an undergraduate at Portland State University, I worked in a lab investigating the effects of ethanol on thermoregulation in mouse models. Following graduation I entered the Forte Lab, dividing my time between the Drosophila and mouse projects including the genetics and the ever-expanding mouse colony. In addition, these projects have given me the opportunity to develop the skills required for light level and confocal microscopy.


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