Research in this area aims to identify the processes that direct the formation of organs during normal embryonic development, as well as elucidating disorders that arise from abnormal development.

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.

Prasad Devarajan, MD , studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the response of the kidney to various forms of injury, and the determinants of renal regeneration that are shared by the developing kidney.

SK Dey, PhD , is focused on defining the molecular and genetic landscape of embryo-uterine interactions during blastocyst implantation and gynecological cancers. He uses various genetically altered mouse models to address these critical biological problems.

Rashmi Hegde, PhD , studies molecular mechanisms involved in embryonic organ development and how the aberrant functioning of these processes can lead to developmental disorders as well as adult disease states such as cancer. This knowledge is then utilized in the rational design of therapeutic strategies. We use a variety of experimental techniques including biochemistry, cell biology and structural biology. Visit the Hegde lab site.

Vladimir Kalinichenko, MD, PhD , is investigating the transcriptional regulation of epithelial and endothelial cell functions during lung embryonic development and lung carcinogenesis. The primary emphasis of the studies is on the Winged helix/Forkhead Box (Fox) proteins and their role in regulating cell signaling pathways required for cellular proliferation, differentiation, motility and survival. The ultimate goal of the research program is to identify novel mechanisms that cause human lung malformations and promote lung cancer formation.

Richard Lang, PhD , has a major interest in early development of the eye emphasizing the signaling and genetics of lens induction. His lab also studies how macrophages signal apoptosis in vascular endothelial cells during programmed vascular regression. Visit the Lang lab site.

Steven Potter, PhD , is interested in kidney and craniofacial development and disease. He uses a combination of laser capture microdissection, microarrays, and next generation sequencing, applied to both mouse models and human biopsy disease samples. Visit the Potter lab site.

Saulius Sumanas, PhD , utilizes zebrafish as a model system to study molecular mechanisms of the embryonic vasculature formation. Visit the Sumanas lab site.

James Wells, PhD , researches the molecular mechanisms of endoderm organogenesis in mouse and humans. The goal of this work is to identify the molecular basis of congenital defects affecting the pancreas, liver, and biliary system and to direct the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) into therapeutic cells for replacement therapies, such as transplantable pancreatic beta cells for patients with type-1 diabetes. Visit the Wells lab site.

Jeffrey A. Whitsett, MD , investigates the hierarchy of transcriptional controls and signaling cascades which determine commitment of progenitor cells that produce the differentiated epithelial cells lining the primordial and mature respiratory tract. Studies focus on the control of cell-specific gene transcription governing lung epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation and surfactant gene expression. The goal of his research is to provide insight into the pathogenesis of acute and chronic lung disorders, such as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), other disorders of surfactant homeostasis, as well as pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, lung cancer and asthma. The role of surfactant in innate host defense and lung function is also an ongoing interest. Visit the Whitsett lab site.

Aaron Zorn, PhD , investigates the molecular mechanisms controlling the development of organs such as the liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract, which are derived from the embryonic endoderm. Visit the Zorn lab site.