During the 2011-12 academic year, Dr. Edward Blumenthal is spending a sabbatical leave at KU Leuven, the oldest university in Belgium. He is partly supported during the sabbatical by a fellowship from the host university. Dr. Blumenthal is spending the year in the laboratory of Professor Jozef Vanden Broeck, an expert on insect physiology, and is continuing his current research on a gene in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster called drop-dead. This gene appears to be important for the proper development of epithelial tissues in the fly, and Dr. Blumenthal is using the sabbatical to identify other genes that interact with drop-dead and to understand more fully how drop-dead affects fly development and structure. He is also using the sabbatical leave to write and submit several manuscripts, prepare grant proposals, and develop important contacts and collaborations with colleagues in Europe.