Developmental Biology

  • Neurology

    Research in this area focuses on the development of the peripheral and central nervous systems and how intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence behavior. Members of the Developmental Biology division studying neurobiology interact and collaborate with faculty from several other divisions through a Developmental Neurobiology Research Group.

    Nadean Brown, PhD, investigates mechanisms of cell fate specification in the mouse retina and lens. Projects focus on the function and regulation of transcription factor and Notch signaling during progenitor cell proliferation, cell cycle exit and differentiation. 

    Kenneth Campbell, PhD, studies the molecular genetic control of mouse forebrain development with a particular focus on the generation of neuronal diversity in the ventral telencephalon.

    Chieh Chang, PhD, studies the molecular cues for axon development, degeneration, and regeneration. He is also interested in understanding intrinsic timing mechanisms that regulate neuronal plasticity. [Visit the Chang lab site.]

    Chiou-Fen Chuang, PhD, investigates the molecular mechanisms by which left-right asymmetry in the developing nervous system is established. She studies the simple nervous system in the small roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, composed of just 302 neurons, to uncover fundamental mechanisms that are likely to be used in our own brain.
    [Visit the Chuang lab site.]

    Vaughn Cleghon, PhD, is interested in understanding the role of protein kinases in development and disease. His lab uses molecular biology, tissue culture, Drosophila genetics and bioinformatics to better understand fundamental mechanisms involved in the regulation of protein kinase activity. [Visit the Cleghon lab site.]

    Tiffany Cook, PhD, is interested in understanding the molecular basis of eye development, and how these processes are disrupted in disease states. Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model, we combine cellular, molecular, biochemical, and genetic approaches to dissect the events underlying the development of the lens and retina. [Visit the Cook lab site.]

    Jay Degen, PhD, studies the mechanisms by which circulating and cell-associated hemostatic factors contribute to development, tissue reorganization, inflammatory processes and disease. A particular focus of research is to define the regulatory pathways by which thrombin and thrombin targets contribute to cancer biology, inflammatory joint disease, neuroinflammatory disease, bacterial virulence/host defense, and immunological disorders. [Visit the Degen Lab site.]

    Brian Gebelein, PhD, studies how the Hox genes specify distinct cell fates within the nervous system using the fruit fly as a model organism. His long-term goal is to use a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches to understand how Hox factors interact with neuronal transcription factors to regulate downstream target genes that pattern the nervous system and ultimately control cellular function and behavior. [Visit the Gebelein lab site.]

    Chia-Yi Kuan, MD, PhD, studies the mechanism of neuronal cell death following cerebral ischemia-hypoxia, and means to stimulate adult neurogenesis for cell replacement. These studies involve a broad spectrum of disciplines including genetic, biochemical, physiological, histological, cell biology, and MRI imaging techniques.

    Masato Nakafuku, MD, PhD, is focused on the development and regeneration of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). We are seeking to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying normal development of the CNS. We are also interested in applying advancement of our knowledge on neural development for developing novel therapeutic strategies to cure neurological diseases. These two research fields are directly related to each other, and neural stem cells are the key and major driving force to link both research fields. [Visit the Nakafuku lab site.]

    Yutaka Yoshida, PhD, investigates the molecular mechanisms of neural circuit formation in the developing spinal cord, using many techniques including molecular biology, mouse genetics, biochemistry, and electrophysiology.

 
  • Motor Neurons.

    Click to enlarge.

    Motor Neurons

    Motor Neurons.
    Transverse section of the spinal cord of a rat embryo showing motor neurons and their progenitors (founder cells). (Photo courtesy of Masato Nakafuku, MD,PhD).