A) Acknowledgements

I would like to express my gratitude to people who have directly or indirectly helped me in this work.

I am grateful to Drs. Cristina Cardoso and Heinrich Leonhardt for their supervision of this work. Their support, ideas and helpful discussions have immensely contributed to this work, and to my personal intellectual development. I greatly appreciate Heinrich's calm and Cristina's understanding that have helped us sail through rough times. I appreciate their critical and patient reading of this manuscript. Their approachability, and especially Cristina's infectious excitement, have made working a pleasure. Thanks, Cristina and Heinrich, for all the help and support.

I greatly appreciate Ana Aguirre Arteta, Hans Peter Rahn and Wolfgang Derer for their congenial presence that helped me a lot in adjusting to a foreign country. Their help within and outside the lab have been very useful. Special thanks to Ana for her company in the lab during late working hours and of course for the homemade dinners delivered to the lab. Jean Margot has been very helpful with his critical eye on my work and interesting discussions. Thanks, Jean, for your pleasant company and much needed advice. I thank Anje Sportbert for helping me with the microscopes and useful comments on this work. Also, thanks for those images that saved me a lot of time peering through the microscope. I thank Ingrid Grunewald, Petra Domaing, Danny Nowak, Anja Gahl and Marion Bengs for their valuable help and creating a cheerful and pleasant atmosphere. Robert Martin and Maik Grohman, thanks for the advice and tips on optimizing the print quality. I thank Jochen Kramer and Christina Quensel for introducing me to some of the lab protocols and techniques.

I would like to thank Dr. Harald Saumweber for his help with the registration in the university, critical comments on my work and encouragement. I thank him and Dr. Peter Becker for agreeing to review this work. I thank Dr. Manfred Gossen for his comments and allowing me to use the fly facility. Thanks also to the lab members of Dr. Saumweber and Dr. Gossen for helping me.

I am grateful to Tina Baldinger for helping with the German translation in a very short time.

Aditya, thanks a lot for your help and useful discussions. Also, thanks for the help with fly work, most importantly a Sunday morning crash course over the phone on identifying virgins (well, in Drosophila!). Trupti, Geetu and Deepnil, although far, thanks for being there whenever I wanted. Thanks a lot Swaroop, Sumi, Zhyldyz, Kamal, Dheeraj, Anand, Deb and Rashid for the good company. Thanks to Matthias for being just a phone call away and take me to the wonderful world outside science.

Last, but most importantly, thanks to my parents and brothers for their love and encouragement, and keeping alight the torch of hope that brings me here.

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