Developmental Biology

Interested in Developmental Biology research? Take a look at what MCDB faculty are doing in this area:

Amacher, Sharon

Interested in how cells become sequentially determined to more precisely defined fates during vertebrate embryonic development and how this process depends upon cell position and upon interactions among neighboring cells. To address these questions, we use genetics, molecular biology, time-lapse imaging, and embryology to investigate mesodermal patterning, segmentation and muscle development in the zebrafish embryo, a well-established model for human development and disease.

Beattie, Christine

Elucidation of the underlying causes of motoneuron dysfunction in motoneuron diseases using zebrafish as a model system.

Brigstock, David

Characterization of connective tissue growth factor: structure-function analysis and role in fibrotic disease.

Chamberlin, Helen

Understanding the molecular processes underlying organogenesis.

Cole, Susan

Roles of fringe genes and Notch signaling during mouse development. Analysis of cyclic mRNA_expression during somitogenesis: linking the Notch pathway and the segmentation clock.

Dawes, Adriana

In our lab, we are interested in understanding how spatial patterns in a cell can arise from small scale interactions between proteins. We use both theoretical and experimental approaches, using zygotes of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans as our model organism.

Dobritsa, Anna

We are interested in understanding mechanisms leading to formation of exine, the remarkably diverse cell wall of plant pollen grains. By using techniques of genetics, molecular biology, microscopy, and biochemistry, we are studying the biosynthesis, pattern formation, and evolution of this amazing structure.

El-Hodiri, Heithem

Regulation of gene expression in early Xenopus neural development.

Fischer, Andrew

Neural development, regeneration, and survival of cells in the retina. In particular, neural stem cells that are found at the peripheral edge of the retina or those that are derived from the major type of glial cell in the retina, the Müller glia. Investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control the proliferation and differentiation of neural precursors in the developing and mature retina.

Fisk, Harold

Cell cycle regulation of the Mps1 family of protein kinases; centrosome duplication and spindle checkpoint control; mis-regulation of Mps1 and its role in genetic instability and cancer.

Garg, Vidu

Focus is on the genetic basis of congenital heart disease and the molecular pathways regulating normal and abnormal cardiac development, utilizing a combination of human genetic and molecular approaches to gain insight into the etiologies of congenital heart disease.

Gu, Chen

Our research goals are to understand how ion channels are precisely localized to control neuronal excitability and how localization and function of ion channels are altered in neurodegenerative diseases.

Guttridge, Dennis

NF-kappa β regulation of cell growth and differentiation.

Hollick, Jay

Heritable epigenetic variation represents a poorly understood, yet significant, component of evolutionary biology. We use genetic, cytogenetic, genomic, and molecular approaches in corn to understand both the molecular mechanism and biological function of paramutation - a process responsible for meiotically heritable epigenetic changes in gene regulation. Our studies highlight novel aspects of eukaryotic chromosome organization and function.

Johnson, Robert

The Johnson laboratory uses mouse model systems to understand the molecular and genetic changes responsible for the development of pediatric brain tumors.

Jontes, James

Role of cell adhesion molecules in the processes of synaptogenesis and circuit assembly in the developing zebrafish nervous system.

Kaspar, Brian

Investigation of cell death pathways in Central Nervous System Disorders; delivery of Gene Therapy Vectors to the CNS; identification of Neural Stem Cell Signaling Pathways and Development.

Lamb, Rebecca

Role of transcriptional regulation during flower development in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Using specification of organ identity to study transcriptional networks controlling development. In addition to elucidating the molecular underpinnings of flower formation, the potential modification of transcriptional networks during evolution to give rise to varying floral morphologies is being examined.

Lilly, Brenda

The Lilly lab studies mechanisms of blood vessel formation and smooth muscle differentiation. Our specific interests include endothelial and smooth muscle cell interactions, mechanisms of Notch signaling, and transcriptional control of smooth muscle gene expression.

Lincoln, Joy

Focus is on understanding embryonic origins of adult heart disease, with a specific interest in heart valves. Lab uses in vitro and in vivo tools in combination with molecular biology, bioengineering and imaging skills to examine the mechanisms of how heart valves form in the developing embryo, and how alterations in embryogenesis give rise to dysfunctional heart valves after birth.

Ludwig, Thomas

Functional analysis of the tumor suppressor genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 in normal and malignant development. Cancer biology.  Animal models of human cancer.

Mangel, Stuart

We are studying how a circadian (24-hour) clock modulates cellular and molecular processes and chemical and electrical synaptic transmission, and how disruption of this circadian system mediates neuronal degeneration. We are also studying the cellular, subcellular(eg transporters), developmental, and neural network mechanisms that underlie information processing in the brain.

Martin, Paul

Research in the Martin lab is focused on the role of glycoyslation in synapse formation and muscular dystrophy. Other studies involve understanding the role of carbohydrates in the development of the brain, and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic reagents for Alzheimer's disease.

McBride, Kim

Focus is on elucidating causes of cardiovascular malformations, with the goal of developing novel therapies. We apply a variety of human genetic techniques (linkage, association, sequencing) to identify and characterize candidate genes. Functional consequences are studied in cell based systems. We use genetic and environmental models to examine cardiovascular developmental biology in the mouse.

McHugh, Kirk

The research efforts in my laboratory rely upon an integrated scientific approach that is designed to identify the genetic pathways responsible for the ontogenesis and pathogenesis of smooth muscle tissues. The dysregulation of smooth muscle differentiation represe.

Mykytyn, Kirk

Molecular genetics of complex diseases.

Oakes, Christopher

Our laboratory investigates the epigenetic mechanisms of hematopoietic development and leukemogenesis. We employ genome-wide and targeted profiling of epigenetic marks in combination with functional molecular approaches to elucidate the role of epigenetic mechanisms in normal and malignant blood cells. We also aim to discover predictive epigenetic biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets of disease.

Simcox, Amanda

The role of oncogenes, tumor suppressors and Egfr signaling in growth control and development in Drosophila.

Slotkin, R. Keith

My laboratory aims to discover how potentially mutagenic “jumping genes” or transposable elements are epigenetically repressed from generation to generation, as well as how this system has been adopted over evolutionary time to regulate non-transposable element genes.

Somers, David

Molecular genetic analysis of the plant circadian clock.

Symer, David
Causes and consequences of endogenous transposition and alternative RNA splicing in mouse and man.

Weisleder, Noah

Our laboratory studies different aspects of skeletal muscle and cardiovascular physiology, principally focusing on mechanisms of plasma membrane repair, cellular metabolism and calcium homeostasis in normal physiology and how changes in these can contribute to heart failure and various neuromuscular diseases inculding muscular dystrophy, Membrane repair is a conserved cellular process where intracellular vesicles actively patch membrane disruptions to allow survival of the cell. These studies examine the role of tripartite motif (TRIM) family E3 ubiquitin ligases in these processes and how these can be targeted as therapeutic interventions.

Wharton, Robin

Post-transcriptional gene regulation in Drosophila; germ cell biology.

Wu, Lai-Chu

V(D)J recombination; protein binding to recombination signal sequences.

Yoon, Sung Ok

Cell signaling; neuronal apoptosis; transgenic mice; myelination; role of small GTPases in brain development; nerve injury.

Yu, Jianhua

Objective of first research area is to investigate natural killer (NK) cell innate immune response to tumor cells through understanding signaling pathways, cell activation, cell subsets, and cell development of NK cells. The goal of the project is to perform NK cell-based immunotherapy to treat leukemia, glioblastoma or hepatocellular carcinoma. The second research area is regarding hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This includes stem cell mobilization and HSCT associated complications such as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and leukemia relapse.