Nancy Jo Pokrywka

Professor and Chair of Biology
Woman with glasses, black shirt, and grey hair

The proper functioning of many cells depends on the subcellular organization of organelles, proteins, and mRNAs. The cytoskeleton plays a central role in establishing cell polarity and in the localization of important RNAs and proteins, but the molecular details of most localization events are elusive. We are interested in the ways in which cytoskeletal regulation and reorganization can lead to the asymmetrical distribution of RNAs and proteins and to modulation of cell function in general. To investigate these questions we use the developing Drosophila oocyte as a model system. Research in the lab uses a variety of genetic and cell biology techniques, including antibody staining, confocal microscopy, genetic analysis, and computer image acquisition and analysis.

BS, Stonehill College; MS, PhD, University of Rochester
At Vassar since 1994


Olmsted Hall of Biological Sc
Box 277

Research and Academic Interests

Cell Biology
Reproductive Bioethics


STS 303 Senior Thesis

Selected Publications

  • Starble*, R. and N.J. Pokrywka (2018). The retromer subunit Vps26 mediates Notch signaling during Drosophila oogenesis. Mechanisms of Development 149: 1-8.
  • Pokrywka, N.J., H. Zhang*, K. Raley-Susman (2014). Distinct roles for hu li tai shao and swallow in cytoskeletal organization during Drosophila oogenesis. Dev Dynamics 243: 906-916.
  • Pokrywka, N.J. (2013). Live Imaging of GFP-labeled Proteins in Drosophila Oocytes. J. Vis. Exp. (73), e50044, doi:10.3791/50044 Link
  • Brody*, A. H., E. Chou*, J.M. Gray, N.J. Pokrywka, and K.M. Raley-Susman (2013) Mancozeb-induced behavioral deficits precede structural neural degeneration. Neurotoxicology. 34: 74-81. Link
  • Pokrywka, N.J., A. Payne-Tobin*, K.M. Raley-Susman, and S. Swartzman*. (2009). Microtubules, the ER and Exu: New associations revealed by analysis of mini spindles mutations. Mechanisms of Development 126: 289-300. Link
  • Gordon*, P., L. Hingula*, M.L. Krasny*, J.L. Swienckowski*, N.J. Pokrywka, and K.M. Raley-Susman. (2008). The invertebrate microtubule-associated protein PTL-1 functions in mechanosensation and development in Caenorhabditis elegans. Development Genes & Evolution 218: 541-551. Link

* student author

In the Media

Bald person smiling in front of a grey backdrop.

Principal Investigator Hadley Bergstrom, Associate Professor of Psychological Science, and co-PIs Bojana Zupan, Associate Professor of Psychological Science, and Jennifer Kennell, Associate Professor of Biology, received a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation to purchase a new state-of-the-art confocal microscope platform for basic research and teaching at Vassar, which will fundamentally transform faculty research, faculty-mentored undergraduate research, and advanced-level teaching.