Lab Members

Principal Investigator

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Principal Investigator
 
Research Interest:  Left-right patterning in the vertebrate embryo
 

Postdoctoral Fellows

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Daniel T. Grimes
Postdoctoral Fellow
Email Dan

Research Interest: I am fascinated by symmetry and asymmetry in the biological world. I am investigating how our internal organs attain their strikingly left-right asymmetrical position while other structures, such as the spine, retain symmetry. In particular, I am working to understand how cilia - organelles that project from the cell surface to generate signals and sense the extracellular environment - are involved in breaking left-right symmetry in the embryo and maintaining spine linearity during growth. My aim is to make strides towards understanding these areas of fundamental biology as well as the important human diseases associated with aberrant cilia and asymmetry such as congenital heart disease, heterotaxy, and scoliosis. I primarily use the zebrafish model system for this work, in addition to mouse and Chlamydomonas.

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Victoria L. Patterson
Postdoctoral Fellow
Email Vicki

Research Interest: My research involves using experimental models to understand the etiology of human disease, with a particular interest in signaling during developmental biology. My current research focuses on the signaling pathways that direct heart development in vertebrates. I am especially interested in understanding how closely regulated processes such as gene expression, morphological changes and cell migration lead to a properly patterned heart and how mutations in key proteins result in disease states. Using zebrafish as a model, I am investigating how these types of mutations cause congenital heart defects in humans.

Graduate Students

   
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Meagan Grant

Research Interest:  I am investigating the role of the FGF signaling in asymmetric cardiac morphogenesis. Specifically, I am interested in the role of this pathway in cardiac jogging, a phenomenon in which atrial cells are re-positioned to the anterior and left of ventricular cells. This leftward shift of the cardiac cone occurs simultaneously with its conversion into a linear tube. I aim to identify the FGF ligands, receptors, and transcriptional targets required for the proper re-positioning of the cardiac progenitors during late somitogenesis, and to determine how these factors function at the molecular level to regulate asymmetric cardiac development.

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Granton Jindal
Email Granton

Research Interest: My research focuses on using image analysis and quantitative modeling to analyze early heart development in the zebrafish. Specifically, I am analyzing the process in which the "volcano" shaped heart precursor forms the heart tube. This process amounts to telescoping of the relatively flat volcano to the heart tube which can be

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Aleena L. Patel

Research Interest: I am currently developing optogenetic tools to study signaling pathways in the developing zebrafish embryo.  My work is motivated by an interest in gaining a quantitative understanding of the signaling involved in cell fate induction during development.  My research will primarily focus on understanding early hindbrain patterning.  

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José Pelliccia
Email José

Research Interest: I am examining the regulation ofcharonin KV, specifically at the genomic level, by identifying transcription factors and regulatory elements that play a role incharonexpression. From there, I can characterize which of these factors/elements are required for patterning and morphogenesis in relation tocharon versus those which may play a role in other possiblec haron functionalities.

Undergraduate Students

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Briana Christophers '17
Email Bri

Research Interest: My research aims to create a model for cardiac looping, a conserved process in vertebrate heart development that places the heart chambers in their final position, by studying the function of FGF signaling. Early experiments implicate FGF signaling as being important for directing cell migration/accretion during early heart morphogenesis and for proper chamber development and cardiac looping. Current results are consistent with studies done in chick and mice in other laboratories, suggesting that even the intricacies of heart development in vertebrates may be similar enough to provide insights about what may be occurring in human congenital heart defects. 

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Marvin Cortez 

Research Interest: Hi, my name is Marvin Cortez. I am a visiting undergraduate student from the University of California, Irvine. I work with Jose in investigating the regulatory mechanisms behind dand5 asymmetry as well as pkd2 localization to cilia and its role in left-right asymmetry. 

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Joshua Morrison '17

Research Interest: I'm working on developing an in vivo characterization of podosomes in the context of heart morphogenesis. Podosomes are known to play roles in embryogenesis and tumor metastasis; however, it is relatively unknown how they do so and how they are regulated in vivo. My goal is to begin working on a model for how podosomes are formed and regulated, as well as how they affect cardiomyocyte migration during heart formation in zebrafish. 

Administrative Support

                    
Laisa Eimont
Faculty Assistant