Our laboratory studies how cells make life-or-death decisions using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. While cell death-inducing genes have evolved due to its beneficial effects on the body, excessive cell death also underlies many degenerative disorders. Our goal is to identify mechanisms of cell death regulation that can be exploited for therapeutic purposes. Much of our research focuses on factors that regulate caspases, which are critical executioners of the apoptosis program. In addition, we are interested in learning how stress response pathways help cells survive, or commit to the cell death program. Of particular interest are endoplasmic reticulum stress response pathways that underlie many degenerative disorders.