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College of Graduate Studies

Genetics and Development

Russell Norris, Ph.D. - Division Director, 843-792-3554

The Division of Genetics and Development offers training and research in the field of genetics and developmental biology, which utilizes a variety of animal models to assess the gene functions in embryonic development. Modern developmental genetics has become the central organizing field in all traditional disciplines in biology, such as cell biology, molecular biology, anatomy, evolution, and ecology. It has also contributed greatly to more practical fields such as medicine, environmental science and agriculture. The model systems studied by the faculty members include Drosophila (fruit fly) for oogenesis and vascular system development, zebrafish for environmental impact on embryogenesis, Xenopus (frog) for neurogenesis, chick for the formation of cardiovascular system, mice for a variety of organogenesis such as limb and follicle development, hematopoiesis, heart formation and mammary development, and human familial diseases for genetic linkage studies. In addition to transgenic and knockout technology, a variety of cell culture systems, including those for human stem cells, are utilized in the research.

Time-lapse confocal laser scanning picture of changing gene expression in the developing heart tube.

Drosophila trachea marked by immunohistochemistry and observed by confocal laser microscopy. The wild-type embryo (upper pane) shows an intricate network of tubular structure. The network is disrupted in mutants of the Drosophila oncogene pnt (lower panel).

The picture shows a new-born mouse [top] defective in hair follicle development as compared to the normal animal [bottom]. The defect is induced by Hox gene over-expression.

Genetics & Development Course Descriptions

MCBP 743 - Cellular signaling during Development 
This course is designed to build on the Regulation of Gene Expression, Biomembranes, Receptors and Signaling and Systems Biology units of the first year curriculum for Ph.D and complement ongoing Department-specific seminars and journal clubs. Cellular Signaling during development will provide the students with an indepth look at ongoing research in the field of developmental biology with a strong focus on the signaling networks that control these important processes. It will allow for a broad scope of understanding of the techniques, theories and practices involved in the delineation of cellular signaling in complex systems.  Offered every Spring Semester.
Credits: 3.00
Director: Robin C. Muise-Helmericks, Ph.D.

MCBP 762 - Mechanisms of Development
This course will provide a general overview of fundamental developmental mechanisms focused on a comparison of different model organisms. This 7 week long course covers early and intermediate developmental events (gastrulation and cardiovascular), stem cell biology, mouse molecular genetics and gene regulation, perinatal maturation through induction of stemness in differentiated adult cells and regenerative medicine. Comparative systems discussed include Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus, chick, mouse models and humans. The course is intended for graduate student training in any aspect of biomedical research. Offered in every Spring Semester (Spring Selectives).
Credits: 3.00
Course Director: Yukiko Sugi, Ph.D.

MCBP 779 - Immunogenetics
Initial lectures will review the fundamental principles of genetics.  The principle focus of the course will be the genetics of human MHC and immunoglobulin allotypes.  Major blood genes will also be discussed.  Statistical methods employed in delineating the genetic contribution to human diseases will be reviewed.
Credits: 2.00
Course Director: Janardan Pandey, Ph.D.


Genetics & Development Faculty

Alexander Awgulewitsch, Ph.D.
Role of Hox genes in cartilage & muscle development and transgenic models for skin and hair defects

John E. Baatz, Ph.D.
Department of Pediatrics, Division of
Gene therapy for cystic fibrosis

Narayan R. Bhat, Ph.D.
Department of Neurology
Glial cell lineages in nervous system development

Stephen A. Duncan, DPhil
Smartstate Chair in Regenerative Medicine
Professor and Chair
Using Pluripotent Stem Cells to Study Inborn Errors of Hepatic Metabolism

Stephen Ethier, Ph.D.
Professor, Endowed Chair
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Cancer Genetics

Gary Gilkeson, M.D.
Division of Rheumatology
Genetics of autoimmunity and of racial disparity in autoimmunity

Stanley R. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Function of specific ECM proteins and MMP's in development

Philip H. Howe, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Signaling pathways activated by TGFB1 and Wnt and their potential cross-talk in cellular models of differentiation and cancer

Jennifer Isaacs, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept of Pharmacology
Role of cancer secreted chaperones as mediators of tumor promotion and metastasis

Christine B. Kern, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Prrx Regulation of Extracellular Matrix Genes during Craniofacial Development

Michael Kern, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Defining the molecular/genetic circuitry of patterning genes in bone, craniofacial, and cardiovascular development.
Target genes of homeobox transcription factors: microarrays and beyond


Roger R. Markwald, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Cardiac morphogenesis

Russell A. Norris, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
Formation of the Cardiac Valves and Pathological Processes that Result in Valve Disease

Janardan P. Pandey, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Microbiology and Immunology
Role of cytokine and immunoglobulin genes in infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Chandrakala Puligilla, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Molecular Induction, Cellular Fate Specification and Patterning of the Mammalian Auditory System

Baerbel Rohrer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Retinal development and genetics of retinal degeneration

Demetri D. Spyropoulos, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine
Mammary gland & male urogenital system development, and hematopoiesis

Dennis K. Watson, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Cancer Genomics
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Effects of gene dosage on development: knockout and transgenic models

Andy Wessels , Ph.D.
 Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
 Cardiovascular Development Biology Center
 Cardiovascular Development



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