Flying high

Members of the highwire acrobatic troupe the Flying Wallendas visit the laboratory of Aaron DiAntonio, M.D., Ph.D. (second from left), assistant professor of molecular biology and pharmacology. The troupe visited the lab to learn about a geneDiAntonio’s group hopes to name “Wallenda.” Catherine Collins, Ph.D. (third from left), postdoctoral research scholar, recently discovered the gene, which interacts with a gene named “highwire.” Flies missing the highwire gene are uncoordinated because of defects in neural development. Mutations in the Wallenda gene restore coordination in the flies by compensating for the missing highwire gene. After hearing the reason for the gene’s name, Tino Wallenda (second from right) joked, “We must have the Wallenda gene, too.” Also visiting the lab June 23 are Tino’s wife, Olinka Wallenda (far right), and their daughter Aurelia (far left).