Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program
Organogenesis & Developmental Disorders

Organogenesis & Developmental Disorders

Researchers in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center combine multiple innovative approaches to unravel the molecular mechanisms of normal and abnormal development.More than 3% of children are born with serious structural defects. Although some congenital defects can be controlled and treated, birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States and many children are disabled for life due to developmental disorders. Using a variety of animal model systems and human stem cell-derived organoids, researchers in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center combine multiple innovative approaches to unravel the molecular mechanisms of normal and abnormal development of all major organ systems and to develop new methods for diagnosis, treatment, and/or prevention of various developmental disorders.



Paul Andreassen, PhD. Paul Andreassen, PhD, Associate Professor
Fanconi anemia and breast cancer susceptibility proteins in DNA damage responses and genetic stability [Visit the Andreassen Lab]
Samantha Brugmann, PhD. Samantha Brugmann, PhD, Assistant Professor
The Brugmann Lab studies craniofacial development and disease. [Visit the Brugmann Lab]
Kenneth Campbell, PhD. Kenneth Campbell, PhD, Professor
Cellular and molecular control of vertebrate forebrain development [Visit Developmental Biology]
Cristina Cebrian Cristina Cebrian Ligero, PhD, Assistant Professor
The Cebrian lab studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms that drive kidney organogenesis and renal disease.
Steven A. Crone, PhD. Steven A. Crone, PhD, Assistant Professor
The Crone laboratory studies how neural circuits controlling motor behaviors are affected by disease and injury. Our goal is to develop strategies targeting neural circuits capable of improving motor function and the quality of life of patients suffering from developmental defects, neurodegenerative disease or injury. [Visit the Crone Lab]
Biplab DasGupta, PhD. Biplab DasGupta, PhD, Assistant Professor
Neural stem cells, cancer stem cells, brain cancer and brain development [Visit the Dasgupta Lab]
Tony De Falco, PhD. Tony De Falco, PhD, Assistant Professor
The De Falco lab is interested in uncovering the mechanisms underlying the differentiation of the fetal gonad, focusing on how myeloid cells (such as macrophages) and vasculature promote tissue remodeling during organogenesis. Additionally, we are investigating the roles of myeloid cells in regulating spermatogonial stem cell differentiation in the adult testis. [Visit the De Falco Lab]
  Brian Gebelein, PhD, Associate Professor
Patterning of the nervous and digestive systems during development [Visit the Gebelein Lab]
John Harley, MD, PhD. John Harley, MD, PhD, Professor
We work to bring the new technologies of genomics to clinical care. We do this for the institution as a service and for our own work in autoimmunity. At the moment we are evaluating the microbiome in blood for systemic lupus erythematosus. [Visit Rheumatology]
Rashmi Hegde, PhD. Rashmi Hegde, PhD, Professor
The Hegde laboratory studies molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis in development, cancer and retinal diseases, and is involved in structure- and mechanism-based drug development. [Visit the Hegde Lab]
David Hildeman, PhD. David Hildeman, PhD, Professor
Molecular biology of antigen-specific T cells, including mechanisms involved in cell signaling, apoptosis, and sex-based differences in autoimmunity and the T cell response to viral infections [Visit the Hildeman Lab]
Stacey S. Huppert, PhD. Stacey S. Huppert, PhD, Associate Professor
Intercellular signaling pathways that regulate the patterning of liver architecture during development and regeneration. [Visit the Huppert Lab]
Rulang Jiang, PhD. Rulang Jiang, PhD, Professor
Understanding the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms of major birth defects [Visit the Jiang Lab]
Rafi Kopan, PhD. Rafi Kopan, PhD, Professor
The generation of different cell types and specialized organs. [Visit the Kopan Lab]
Richard Lang, PhD. Richard Lang, PhD, Professor
Eye development with an emphasis on lens induction and vascular patterning [Visit the Lang Lab]
Tim Le Cras, PhD. Tim Le Cras, PhD, Associate Professor
Chronic lung diseases: Asthma, Bronchopulmonary dysplasia, Pulmonary fibrosis, Pulmonary hypertension [Visit the Le Cras Lab]
Doug Millay, PhD. Doug Millay, PhD, Assistant Professor
We are interested in the mechanisms of cell-cell fusion, using skeletal muscle development and regeneration as a model system. [Visit the Millay Lab]
James C. Mulloy, PhD. James C. Mulloy, PhD, Professor
Molecular mechanisms involved in leukemia induction and maintenance; mouse modeling of leukemia using primary human blood stem cells [Visit the Mulloy Lab]
Takahisa Nakamura, PhD. Takahisa Nakamura, PhD, Assistant Professor
Functional analysis of small RNAs and their binding proteins in integrative organ crosstalk in metabolic diseases. [Visit Endocrinology]
A. P. Naren, PhD. A. P. Naren, PhD, Professor
Macromolecular Complexes of CFTR in Cystic Fibrosis and Secretory Diarrhea [Visit Pulmonary Medicine]
Dao Pan, PhD. Dao Pan, PhD, Associate Professor
Combining translational and basic research on virus-mediated, in vivo and ex vivo, gene transfer into stem cells or hepatocytes, as well as their potential application for gene therapy of patients with inherited or acquired diseases. [Visit the Pan Lab]
Joo-Seop Park, PhD. Joo-Seop Park, PhD, Assistant Professor
Gene regulatory networks regulating stem/progenitor cells in development and disease. [Visit Urology]
Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD. Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, Professor
Eosinophil biology, chemokine receptor signaling pathways [Visit the Rothenberg Lab]
  Soona Shin, PhD, Assistant Professor
Molecular mechanisms of childhood liver cancer with a focus on hepatic stem/progenitor cells. [Visit the Shin Lab]
Saulius Sumanas, PhD. Saulius Sumanas, PhD, Assistant Professor
Molecular mechanisms of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis [Visit the Sumanas Lab]
 Takanori Takebe, MD. Takanori Takebe, MD, Assistant Professor
Developing a complex organoid (or organ bud) model using human pluripotent stem cells by studying endoderm organogenesis and promoting applications towards modern human development, disease model and therapeutic transplantation. [Visit Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition]
Charles Vorhees, PhD. Charles Vorhees, PhD, Professor
Prenatal origins of neurocognitive and behavioral disorders: How developmental exposure to drugs, environmental agents, chronic stress, and genetic alterations adversely affect brain development and behavior. [Visit the Vorhees-Williams Lab]
Ronald R. Waclaw, MS, PhD. Ronald R. Waclaw, MS, PhD, Assistant Professor
Development of forebrain progenitor cells that contribute to the postnatal “neurogenic” niche in the subventricular zone [Visit Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology]
Stephen N. Waggoner, PhD. Stephen N. Waggoner, PhD, Assistant Professor
We are interested in host and viral factors that control disease pathogenesis by regulating development of long-lived immunological memory, generation of potent immune effector cells, and functional repression of immune function during chronic infection. [Visit the Waggoner Lab]
Joshua Waxman, PhD. Joshua Waxman, PhD, Assistant Professor
My lab is interested in the molecular and genetic mechanisms of organogenesis, with a focus on cardiovascular development. [Visit the Waxman Lab]
Jim Wells, PhD. Jim Wells, PhD, Professor
Endoderm organogenesis and promoting the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into therapeutic endoderm derivatives. [Visit the Wells Lab]
Kathryn Wikenheiser-Brokamp, MD, PhD. Kathryn Wikenheiser-Brokamp, MD, PhD, Associate Professor
Our research aims to elucidate the molecular basis of lung development and disease with specific focus on identifying critical biologic functions of the Rb/p16, p53 and Dicer/miRNA pathways in pulmonary progenitor/stem cell growth in the context of organogenesis, repair after injury and disease pathogenesis to identify novel targets with diagnostic and therapeutic utility. [Visit Pathology]
Michael Williams, PhD. Michael Williams, PhD, Associate Professor
Interaction of stress-induced hormones and drugs of abuse on adult learning and memory abilities; physiological responses to later stressors; behavioral and physiological consequences of drug reexposure. [Visit the Vorhees Williams Lab]
Chunyue Yin, PhD. Chunyue Yin, PhD, Assistant Professor
The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying liver development and disease pathogenesis using the zebrafish model organism. [Visit the Yin Lab]
Katherine Yutzey, PhD. Katherine Yutzey, PhD, Professor
Morphogenesis of the heart and transcriptional regulatory networks involved in cardiac determination and differentiation; congenital heart disease [Visit the Yutzey Lab]
Amanda Zacharias Amanda Zacharias, PhD, Assistant Professor
Our lab studies how gene expression is regulated by signaling pathways during embryonic development. We use Wnt signaling in the nematode worm, C. elegans, as a model system and utilize a novel time-lapse imaging approach. [Visit Zacharias Lab]
Yi Zheng, PhD. Yi Zheng, PhD, Professor
Molecular mechanisms of Rho GTPase signal transduction. Development of novel therapeutic reagents to inhibit Rho pathways related to human pathological conditions [Visit Zheng Lab]
Aaron Zorn, PhD. Aaron Zorn, PhD, Professor

Molecular mechanisms of endoderm organ development [Visit the Zorn Lab]