Photo of William A. Mohler, Ph.D.

William A. Mohler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Genetics and Genome Sciences
Academic Office Location:
Genetics and Genome Sciences
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-6403
Phone: 860-679-1833
Fax: 860-760-6140

Systems Biology Graduate Program

Genetics and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

A.B.Harvard CollegeBiochemical Sciences
Ph.D.Stanford UniversityPharmacology

Post-Graduate Training
Visiting Graduate StudentNational Institutes of HealthLaboratory of Bruce Paterson, Ph.D.
Professional TrainingMarine Biological LaboratorySummer course-Physiology: Cellular and Molecular Biology
FellowshipUniversity of WisconsinLaboratory of John G. White, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Osborn Graduate Teaching Award: first recipient, chosen by ballotgraduate students in Biomedical Sciences
Cum Laude in Field of Biomedical SciencesHarvard College, Cambrdige, MA
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Intl. C. elegans Meeting OtherWorkshop OrganizerExternalInternational2011
Qualifying exam committee for UCHC Cell Analysis and Modeling PhD student Akeisha Belgrave. Advisory CommitteeCommittee memberUConn HealthUniversity2011
Gordon Research Conference on Cell-Cell FusionOtherChairExternalNational2009
Gordon Research Conference on Cell-Cell FusionOtherVice ChairExternalNational2007
Graduate Programs CommitteeEducation CommitteeFull member, area of concentration directorUConn HealthLocal20062012
Organizing Committee, C.elegans Early Embryo Mtg. OtherCommittee memberExternalNational2006
Qualifying exam committee for UCHC Cell Biology PhD student Rachael Norris. Advisory CommitteeCommittee memberUConn HealthUniversity2006
poster competition at 15th International C. elegans Meeting OtherJudgeExternalInternational2005
Graduate Programs CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2005
Genetics and Developmental Biology area of conc. Advisory CommitteeAssociate DirectorUConn HealthUniversity20052006
CCAM Biophotonics faculty search committee Advisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20052006
UCHC Biomedical Sciences graduate admissions committee Education CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20042006
MSTP training grant site visit Advisory Committeefaculty participantUConn HealthUniversity2004
Dental Council Advisory CommitteeMemeberUConn HealthUniversity20032006
Genetics and Developmental Biology faculty search committee Advisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20032004
Qualifying exam committee for UCHC Developmental Biology PhD student Stephan Goupil. Advisory CommitteeCommittee memberUConn HealthUniversity2003
Genetics and Developmental Biology graduate program Education CommitteeCurriculum DirectorUConn HealthUniversity20022005
GPC curriculum committee, UCHCEditorial BoardMemberUConn HealthUniversity20022006
Office of Educational Assessment, coordinating implementation of the Blackboard Survey system for graduate course evaluations Advisory CommitteeGraduate faculty liaisonUConn HealthUniversity20022006
GMBB program annual retreat planning committee. Advisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2002
Qualifying exam committee for UCHC Developmental Biology PhD student Brianna Solod and UCHC GMBB PhD student Theresa Santiago. Advisory CommitteeCommittee memberUConn HealthUniversity2002
Summer undergraduate research program admissions committeeEducation CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20012003
Qualifying exam committee for UCHC Developmental Biology PhD student Dana Philipps.Advisory CommitteeCommittee memberUConn HealthUniversity2001
American Society for Cell Biology Professional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational
Biophysical SocietyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational
Biophysical JournalProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Journal of Biomedical OpticsProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Genome InformaticsProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Indian Academy of SciencesProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Nature BiotechnologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Nature Cell BiologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
DevelopmentProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
Source Code for BiologyProfessional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
PLoSONE Professional/Scientific JournalReviewerExternalNational
NCRR special review panel for shared instrumentation grant applicationsAdvisory CommitteeGrant reviewerExternalNational
Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center Gilman Foundation ProgramAdvisory CommitteeGrant reviewerExternalUniversity
ARRA-GO special review panel Advisory CommitteeGrant reviewerExternalNational

We are pursuing three projects that extend from our interests in the development of tissues and the innovative application of light microscopy to biology: Developmental cell fusion, Second-harmonic generation microscopy, and Genome-wide imaging of C. elegans development. Developmental Cell Fusion Formation of multinucleate syncytia (giant cells) is essential to the development and regeneration of human skeletal muscle, and is key to fertilization and the formation of various specialized cell types in many species. Yet the mechanism by which fusing cells recognize each other and merge their membranes is poorly understood. We use genetics and microscopy in the nematode worm C. elegans to study the mechanisms by which cells fuse during this animal's development. Our recent studies of the unique cell-fusion protein EFF-1 indicate that the molecular machinery of cell fusion has been re-invented during evolution of different cell types and divergent organisms. We are also investigating the mechanism of mammalian myoblast fusion, combining experimental tools developed specifically for that system with our experience from the study of C. elegans syncytia. Second-harmonic Generation (SHG) imaging We recently discovered that thick myosin filaments in the actomyosin lattice of striated muscle cells produce second-harmonic generation. This non-linear optical effect produces bright contrast from the endogenous unlabeled proteins themselves. The second harmonic light can be imaged at high three-dimensional spatial resolution on a microscope, yielding a digital profile of the arrangement and internal structure of muscle fibers in live tissue. We are applying SHG microscopy to the study of degenerative muscle diseases and aging, as well as the process of myofibrillogenesis in the differentiation of muscle cells. Genome-wide Imaging of C. Elegans Development We are working to develop a database of genome and proteome activity in the developing nematode C. elegans. This tiny yet complex animal is remarkable both for its transparency and the cell-by-cell invariance its developmental program. We plan to use two distinct fluorescence imaging technologies to record the dynamics of expression and localization of GFP-tagged gene products within live worms and embryos. The standardized digital data produced by these instruments will then be correlated to find genes and proteins that work coordinately in the formation of specific cell types and tissues.

Not accepting students for Lab Rotationsat this time.

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Cell-cell fusion: transient channels leading to plasma membrane merger
    Mohler WA Cell-Cell Channels 2006 Jan;
  • Imaging Embryonic Development in Caenorhabditis elegans
    Mohler WA* and Isaacson AB Imaging in Neuroscience and Development 2005 Jan;
  • Multiphoton imaging of embryonic development
    Mohler WA and Squirrell JM Imaging Neurons: A Laboratory Manual 2000 Jan;

Conference Papers


  • Analysis of Mouse Myoblast Fusion.
    Mohler WA Doctoral dissertation, Stanford University Department of Pharmacology. 1997 Jan;

Short Surveys

  • Cell-cell fusion.
    Chen, Elizabeth H; Grote, Eric; Mohler, William; Vignery, Agnès FEBS letters 2007 May;581(11):2181-93


Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Dynamics at an EFF-1-dependent Fusion Synapse TalkGordon Research Conference on Cell-Cell Fusion2011Biddeford, ME
The GLOWorm repository & GLOWormJ: a system for distribution and analysis of multidimensional embryological images. TalkInternational C. elegans Meeting2011Los Angeles, CA
Realizing the potential of image data from C. elegans. TalkBoston Area Worm Meeting2010Cambridge, MA.
Toward a GLOWorm database/software/interface. TalkNew York Area Worm Meeting2010New York, NY
Chair’s introduction, and discussion leader introduction to cell fusion in epithelia. TalkGordon Research Conference on Cell-Cell Fusion2009New London, NH
Appreciating massive datasets from tiny specimens; focus on cell tracking in confocal recordings. TalkYale Advanced Microscopy Workshop2009New Haven, CT
Chair’s introduction, and discussion leader introduction to cell fusion in epithelia. Panel DiscussionGordon Research Conference on Cell-Cell Fusion2009New London, NH
The challenges and benefits of high-resolution imaging of intact specimens. TalkE. E. Just Symposium2008Howard University, Washington, DC.
Wisdom from worms about fusing cell, fusing photons, y farmacologia. TalkCentro de Investigación del Cancer2008Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
Application of TCNP technologies to understand polarity in cell-cell fusion. TalkTechnology Centers for Networks and Pathways, All-Hands Meeting2008Bethesda, MD
Dynamic regulation and localization of EFF-1 in fusing cells of C. elegans. TalkGordon Research Conference on Cell-Cell Fusion2007New London, NH
Multiple examples of multidimensional imaging. TalkConnecticut Microscopy Society2007Yale University, New Haven, CT
Diagnostic quantification of muscle contractile structure by second-harmonic generation (SHG) imaging. TalkAdvanced Optical Methods Workshop2007Berkeley, CA.
Making giant cells: Somatic cell fusion in C. elegans development. TalkUMDNJ2006Piscataway, New Jersey
Applying second-harmonic generation imaging to the study of neuromuscular disease and aging. TalkMayo Alzheimer’s Disease/Parkinson’s Disease Seminar Series2006Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
Regulation and trafficking of of EFF-1 in cell fusion. TalkC. elegans topic meeting2006Madison, WI
Developmental cell fusion: dynamic regulation of the prototype fusogen, EFF-1. TalkProgram in Molecular and Cellular Biology2005UMass, Amherst, Massachusetts
Developmental cell fusion: lessons from the "prototype" fusogen, EFF-1. TalkCenter for Cellular and Molecular Biology2005Hyderabad, India
Quantifying sarcopenic changes in aging muscle by second-harmonic generation imaging. TalkEllison Medical Foundation Colloquium on the Biology of Aging2005Woods Hole, MA.
Nonlinear optics and multidimensional imaging of developing tissues. TalkSociety for Developmental Biology2005San Francisco, CA
GLOWorm peep-show: a preliminary collection of interactive movies of embryonic gene-expression. PosterFifteenth International C. elegans Meeting2005Los Angeles, CA
Keynote lecture presented: Second-harmonic generation imaging of endogenous tissue structures. TalkFrontiers in Biomechanics (US Natl. Cmte. on Biomechanics), 2005Vail, Colorado
Appreciating massive datasets from tiny specimens. TalkZeiss-CCMB Microscopy Workshop2005Hyderabad, India
Second-harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy in live cells and tissues. TalkZeiss-CCMB Microscopy Workshop2005Hyderabad, India
Function of EFF-1 in C. elegans cell fusion. PosterAmerican Society for Cell Biology2004Washington, DC.
Genome-wide imaging of C. elegans embryogenesis. TalkORFeome meeting2004Boston, MA
A single-protein fusogen in the somatic cells of C. elegans. PosterNortheast Society for Developmental Biology2004Woods Hole, MA
Lessons from a worm about fusing cells and fusing photons. TalkCenter for Regenerative Biology2003UConn, Storrs, Connecticut
Function of EFF-1 in C. elegans cell fusion. PosterAmerican Society for Cell Biology2003San Francisco, CA
Genome-wide imaging of C. elegans development. TalkORFeome meeting2003Boston, MA
Analyzing GFP expression patterns throughout C. elegans development. TalkCurrent Topics in Gene Expression and Proteomics, 6th meeting2003San Diego
Imaging strategies and data types for genome-wide comparison and pattern-matching of GFP expression patterns: GLO-Worm. TalkFourteenth International C. elegans Meeting2003Los Angeles
Second harmonic imaging of endogenous protein structures. TalkSymposium on Biological Imaging2003Madison, WI
Mechanism of developmental cell fusion in C. elegans. TalkDept. of Biology, CUNY Queens College2002New York
Lessons from a worm about fusing cells and fusing photons. TalkMarine Biological Laboratory2002Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Characterizing EFF-1 function in C. elegans cell fusion. PosterAmerican Society for Cell Biology2002San Francisco
Second harmonic generation imaging of muscle contractile apparatus in live tissue. PosterAmerican Society for Cell Biology2002San Francisco
Post-embryonic Developmental Expression Chronograms: a new functional genomics data type generated using a nematode fluorescence sorting system. TalkEast Coast Worm Meeting2002Durham, NH
Multidimensional imaging of C. elegans development. TalkORFeome meeting2002Boston
C. elegans development. TalkMicroscopy and Microanalysis 20012001Long Beach, CA
Appreciating massive data sets from tiny specimens. TalkMicroscopy and Microanalysis 20012001Long Beach, CA
eff-1 is required for cell fusion in epithelial syncytia. TalkThirteenth International C. elegans Meeting2001Los Angeles
New methods for imaging endogenous protein structures in live cells and tissues: high-resolution second-harmonic and dual-mode non-linear microscopy. TalkThirteenth International C. elegans Meeting2001Los Angeles
Cellular and molecular mechanism of cell fusion in C. elegans. TalkDepartment of Cell Biology, Yale University Medical School2000 New Haven, Connecticut
C. elegans embryogenesis viewed by multiphoton microscopy and 4D/5D computer animation.. TalkGordon Research Conference: Developmental Physiology2000Plymouth, NH
A C. elegans. Mutation Blocking Epidermal Cell Fusions. PosterAmerican Society for Cell Biology1999Washington, D.C.
Microscopy and Cell Biology. TalkCold Spring Harbor Laboratory C. elegans course1999Cold Spring Harbor
Visual reality: magnifying the microscopist's perception. TalkImaging Across Scientific Boundaries, Dartmouth College Symp1999Hanover, NH
Hypodermal cell fusions are not required for gross morphogenesis in C. elegans. PosterTwelfth International C. elegans Meeting1999Madison, Wisconsin
Mechanisms of Membrane Fusion and Resealing. TalkAmerican Society for Cell Biology1998San Francisco
Multiphoton Fluorescence Microscopy for Dynamic Observation of Cell Fusion In C. elegans Embryos. TalkBiophysical Society, 42nd Annual Meeting1998Kansas City, Missouri
4D Timelapse Imaging of Embryonic Lineage and Morphogenesis using a Vital Membrane Dye and Multiple-Photon Fluorescence Microscopy. TalkEleventh International C. elegans Meeting1997Madison, Wisconsin