School of Medicine
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Assistant Professor of Genetics and of Developmental Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our lab studies how intricate control of gene expression and cell signaling is regulated on a minute-by-minute basis to give rise to the remarkable diversity of cell types and tissue morphology that form the living blueprints of developing organisms. This research aims to add a new dimension to our understanding of how cells “know” where to go, when to move and differentiate by employing novel technologies that probe these questions at a highly molecular and nanoscale level. Work in the Barna lab is presently split into two main research efforts. The first is investigating “specialized ribosomes” and mRNA translation in control of gene expression genome-wide in space and time during development. This research is opening a new field of study in which fundamental aspects of gene regulation are controlled by ribosomes harboring a unique activity that “select” for specific mRNAs to translate by virtue of unique RNA regulons embedded within 5’UTRs. The second research effort is centered on employing state-of-the-art live cell imaging to visualize cell signaling and cellular control of organogenesis. This research has led to the realization of a novel means of cell-cell communication dependent on a dense network of actin-based cellular extension within developing organs that interconnect and facilitate the precise transmission of molecular information between cells.
Professor of Neurobiology, of Developmental Biology and of Neurology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our lab is interested in the neuronal-glial interactions that underlie the development and function of the mammlian central nervous system.
The Ernest and Amelia Gallo Professor in the School of Medicine and Professor of Developmental Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Function of Hedgehog proteins and other extracellular signals in morphogenesis (pattern formation), in injury repair and regeneration (pattern maintenance). We study how the distribution of such signals is regulated in tissues, how cells perceive and respond to distinct concentrations of signals, and how such signaling pathways arose in evolution. We also study the normal roles of such signals in stem-cell physiology and their abnormal roles in the formation and expansion of cancer stem cells.
Associate Professor of Developmental Biology, of Computer Science and of Pediatrics (Genetics)
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Dr. Bejerano, co-discoverer of ultraconserved elements, studies the Human Genome. His research focuses on genome sequence and function in both humans and related primate, mammalian and vertebrate species. He is deeply interested in mapping both coding and non-coding genome sequence variation to phenotype differences, and in extracting specific genetic insights from high throughput sequencing measurements, in the contexts of development and developmental abnormalities.
James K. Chen
Associate Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Developmental Biology and, by courtesy, of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our laboratory combines synthetic chemistry and developmental biology to investigate the molecular events that regulate embryonic patterning, tissue regeneration, and tumorigenesis. We are currently using genetic and small-molecule approaches to study the molecular mechanisms of Hedgehog signaling, and we are developing chemical technologies to perturb and observe the genetic programs that underlie vertebrate development.
Department of Pathology Professor in Experimental Pathology and Professor of Developmental Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Chromatin regulation and its roles in human cancer and the development of the nervous system. Engineering new methods for studying and controlling chromatin in living cells.
Margaret T. Fuller
Reed-Hodgson Professor in Human Biology and Professor of Genetics and of Obstetrics/Gynecology (Reproductive and Stem Cell Biology)
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Regulation of stem cell division and self-renewal Cell type specific transcription machinery and regulation of cell differentiation Developmental regulation of cell cycle progression during male meiosis Molecular dissection of the mechanism of cytokinesis.
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Developmental Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests My laboratory studies conformational switches in evolution, disease, and development. We focus on how molecular chaperones, proteins that help other biomolecules to fold, affect the phenotypic output of genetic variation. To do so we combine classical biochemistry and genetics with systems-level approaches. Ultimately we seek to understand how homeostatic mechanisms influence the acquisition of biological novelty and identify means of manipulating them for therapeutic and biosynthetic benefit.
Seung K. Kim M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Developmental Biology and, by courtesy, of Medicine (Oncology)
Current Research and Scholarly Interests We study the genetics of pancreatic islet cell differentiation using molecular, embryologic and genetic methods in several model systems, including mice, embryonic stem cells, and Drosophila. Our work suggests that critical factors required for islet development are also needed to maintain essential functions of the mature islet. Our knowledge of genetic and cellular pathways governing islet formation has allowed us to use stem cell lines to produce islet replacements in vitro.