Welcome to the Auld Lab Research Page

Our laboratory researches how the insulating glial sheath develops to wrap and insulate the nervous system. Our research addresses an important question - How do glial cells wrap, insulate and protect the nervous system. These processes are important as loss of glia disrupts nervous system function and leads to a range of diseases.

We use the model system Drosophila melanogaster to study how glial cells develop, wrap and insulate to protect the peripheral nerve and to create the blood-nerve barrier. We are interested in the mechansims that drive glia interactions with the extracellular matrix, with other glia and with neurons during development and maintence of the nervous system. We also study the junctions that create a permeability barrier between cells and where three cell junctions meet - a specialized area called the tricellular junction.

The Auld lab strives to create a lab that values and welcomes people from diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. Our lab is committed to recruiting and supporting members from diverse backgrounds and groups that are underrepresented in the sciences.

Our Research Projects

Glia-ECM interactions

Glia-ECM Interactions


Glia express a wide range of extracellular matrix (ECM) receptors and these are conserved in non-myelinating glia in many animals. We are testing how these ECM receptors function to drive glial sheath development and support the maintenance of the peripheral nerves as the animal moves.

Glia-glia communication

Glia-glia junctions


Glia make extensive contacts with neurons and other glia. But the mechanisms and function of contact between the different glia layers is not well known. We are asking how the glial layers of the Drosophila peripheral nervous system communicate during sheath formation and maintenance of the nerve .

Tricellular & Septate Junctions

Extracellular Matrix


Glia and epithelial cells form permeability barriers in Drosophila through both septate junctions between two cells and at the corners of cells, at the tricellular junction. We study the protein components and mechanisms that underlie the formation of these junctions in both glial and epithelial cells.

We work at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver)

Our lab is situated in the Life Sciences Institute lsi.ubc.ca which is a collaborative, multidisciplinary research environment. Research in the LSI covers a broad range of fundamental life sciences including research into cell biology, neuroscience, metabolism and other life sciences processes.

The Auld Lab acknowledges that we are on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. The land UBC Vancouver is situated on has always been a place of learning for the Musqueam, who for millennia have passed on their culture, history, and traditions from one generation to the next on this site.

People & Photos


Contact Us

We are located in the Life Sciences Center at the University of British Columbia Vancouver campus.

Contact Info

Phone: +1 604 822 1977

Email: auld@zoology.ubc.ca

2350 Health Sciences Mall

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3