General Science

General Science Experts

Joseph B. Duffy

Department Head and Associate Professor
Biology & Biotechnology
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
United States of America


Education: BS Cornell University 1987 PhD University of Texas, Houston 1992 Postdoc Harvard Medical School 1995 Postdoc University of Colorado, Boulder 1997 Defining signaling pathways that program cellular diversity is one of the foremost problems in biology and is central to my research interests. In the lab we use molecular, genetic, and biochemical approaches to characterize the function of these pathways and to gain insight into their role in disease. To date, the lab has focused on the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor network, a principal therapeutic target for a variety of human cancers. This work involved the characterization of Kekkon1 (Kek1), an archetypal LIG molecule, as a novel feedback inhibitor of the EGFR network. More recently, our work has branched out to neurobiology, adhesion/barrier biology, and lipid metabolism. At the undergraduate level, I enjoy relating the growing impact of biology in our world through teaching Intro to Biotech, Genetics, and mentoring students in the lab. At the graduate level, I enjoy working with doctoral and master’s students in the lab and teaching classes on signal transduction, model experimental systems, and grant writing. Outside of the lab, I enjoy snowshoeing, hiking, photography, and trying to keep up with graduate students on the soccer field.

Research Interest

Signal Transduction; Cancer Biology; Neurobiology; Adhesion/Barrier Biology; Evo-Devo/Pattern Formation


  • Ghiglione, C., Carraway, K.L., Amundadottir, L.T., Boswell, R.E.,.Perrimon, N. and Duffy, J.B. 1999. The transmembrane molecule Kekkon1 acts in a feedback loop to negatively regulate the activity of the EGF receptor during oogenesis. Cell 96: 847-856.

  • Brendza, R.P., Serbus, L.R., Saxton, W.M and Duffy, J.B. 2002. Conventional kinesin is required for the establishment of dorsal-ventral polarity during Drosophila oogenesis. Current Biology 12: 1541-1545.

  • Alvarado, D., Rice, A., and Duffy, J.B. 2004. Bipartite Inhibition of Drosophila Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor by the transmembrane protein Kekkon1. Genetics 167:187-202.

  • Alvarado, D., Evans, T.E., Sharma, R., Lemmon, M.A., and Duffy, J.B. 2006. Mutational analysis of ligand sequestration by Argos. Journal of Biological Chemistry 281:28993-29001.

  • Evans TA, Haridas H, Duffy JB. 2009. Kekkon5 is an extracellular regulator of BMP signaling. Dev Biol. 326:36-46.

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