Developmental Biology (DEVB) Faculty

Yashi Ahmed, M.D., Ph.D.

 

Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 613 Vail

Phone: 603-650-1027


The evolutionarily conserved Wnt signal transduction pathway directs cell proliferation and differentiation during animal development and tissue homeostasis. Despite the fact that deregulation of Wnt signaling underlies numerous developmental disorders and cancers, including nearly all colorectal cancers, many of these mechanisms remain poorly understood. The long-term goal of research in the Ahmed Lab is to elucidate the mechanisms that activate Wnt signaling during animal development using a Drosophila model and to use this knowledge to identify control points in the pathway susceptible to therapeutic targeting in Wnt-driven diseases.

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AMANDA A. AMODEO, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Office:  223 Life Sciences Center

Phone:  603-646-9926

My lab seeks to uncover how cell size, zygotic genome activation, chromatin regulation, and the cell cycle come together to regulate early development in the Drosophila embryo. We use a combination of quantitative imaging, cell biology, genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and mathematical modeling to answer questions about how cells sense fundamental biological properties such as their size and developmental stage.

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Prachee Avasthi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Office:  Vail 409A

Phone:  TBD

We are a fundamental cell biology lab using genetics, bioche­mistry, chemical biology, microscopy, and quantitative image analysis to probe how signaling and trafficking coordinate to build higher order cytoskeletal structures. We use the simplest and most powerful model system appropriate for our studies, a yeast-like alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii,to study a conserved microtubule-based sensory organelle, the cilium. Defects in cilia, which are found on nearly all human cells, can cause blindness, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and other disorders.  We also study organization and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, which we previously found has a major role in ciliary assembly. Lab projects span a wide array of topics including cytoskeletal dynamics, intracellular trafficking, and signal-dependent organelle regulation.

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Magdalena Bezanilla, Ph.D.

Ernest Everett Just 1907 Professor of Biological Sciences

Office: LSC 334

Phone: 603-646-2314


My research aims to understand how molecules within cells impart geometric information ultimately leading to cell shape determination. Research in my lab seeks to identify molecules within the cell that control cellular patterning. We are particularly interested in the role of regulators of the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking and have pioneered the use of the moss Physcomitrella patens. Using the unusually rapid transgenic capabilities of moss, we are pursuing novel approaches to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying plant cell shape.

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Giovanni Bosco, Ph.D.

Oscar M. Cohn Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 609A Vail

Phone: 650-1210

We are interested in understanding how nuclear architecture, chromosome morphology and chromatin structure are modified in response to developmental cues and environmental factors. We are also interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms through which these modifications function and effect specialized cellular processes.


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Zi Chen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Engineering, and Biological Sciences

Office: MacLean 302

Phone: 603-646-6475


Dr. Chen's research interests range from biomechanics and mechanobiology to solid mechanics and material science, covering such diverse topics as mechanics of morphogenesis in biological systems, cell biomechanics, fast motion of plants, mechanics of DNA structures, mechanical instabilities of materials, energy harvesting, stretchable electronics, biomimetic materials/devices, nanofabrication, and modeling of 2D materials.

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Erik E. Griffin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Office: 348 Life Sciences Center

Phone: 603-646-8269


We are interested in understanding how protein concentration gradients are generated in the cytoplasm and contribute to cell fate specification during development. We combine live imaging, biochemical and genetic approaches to study a series of cytoplasmic protein gradients that help pattern the early C. elegans embryo. 


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Bing He, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Office: 350 Life Sciences Center

Phone: 603-646-2649 


I am interested in how complex tissue and organ structures arise from simple tissue primordia. Using an interdisciplinary approach combining genetics, cell biology, biophysics and mathematical modeling, we seek to understand how developmental patterning information controls individual cell shape changes and how they are integrated into stereotyped tissue-scale deformations.


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Robert A. Hill Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Office:  344 Life Sciences Center

Phone:  603-646-6428

We study the multicellular interactions between neurons and glia in the brain with a primary focus on the development, plasticity, and regeneration of myelinating oligodendrocytes. Techniques include high-resolution optical imaging in combination with molecular labels, genetic manipulation, and sensors of cellular physiology.

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Steven D. Leach, M.D.

Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Preston T. and Virginia R. Kelsey Distinguished Chair in Cancer

Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: DH, Rubin Building, Room 801

Phone: 603-653-3611 


The Leach lab studies pancreatic developmental, epithelial and tumor biology, using mouse, zebrafish and human model sytems. 


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Bryan W. Luikart, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office: 604 Vail

Phone: 603-650-1633


We are interested in how gene mutations that cause autism alter neuronal development and function. To study this we engineer viruses to perform in vivo genetic manipulations and employ electrophysiology and multi-photon microscopy to study the impact of genetic manipulations on neuronal function. 


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Aaron McKenna, Ph.D.

Aaron McKenna, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Office:  Williamson Translational Building, Room 658

Phone:  603-650-1866

My lab is interested in how cells grow and divide to form complex structures, such as the transformation from the zygote to an adult human or from a transformed cell into a tumor mass. To study these processes, we develop technologies to trace pattern of cell divisions which recovers the lineage of each cell. This information can be combined with other measures of cell state such as single-cell transcriptomic data to develop a rich picture of how choices are made in development and how this process is dysregulated in diseases such as cancer.

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Diwakar Pattabiraman Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology, and Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Office: Rubin 602

Phone: 603-653-9957 


Our research focuses on understanding the genetic, epigenetic, signaling and cell biological aspects of tumor progression and metastasis in carcinomas. We study the role of transitions in epithelial and mesenchymal states within carcinomas as a model of understanding intratumoral heterogeneity to develop novel ways of overcoming metastatic progression and therapy resistance.


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Yolanda Sanchez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Associate Director for Basic Sciences, Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Office:  Vail 501

Phone:  603-650-1669

Checkpoint signaling events triggered during the response to DNA damage or replication interference, how they regulate cell cycle progression, DNA repair and cell death.  The role of checkpoints in the etiology of cancer and as drug targets for therapeutic enhancers of genotoxic cancer drugs.

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G. Eric Schaller, Ph.D.

Professor of Biological Sciences

Office: 339 Life Sciences Center

Phone: 603-646-2525


Signal transduction by the plant hormones ethylene and cytokinin, and how these hormones act to control growth and development.


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Hermes Yeh, Ph.D.

William W. Brown 1835 Memorial Professor

Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology, and Neurobiology

Office: 625 Remsen

Phone: 603-650-1698

My lab is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter and neuroreceptor interactions in the adult and developing brain. Ongoing research combines neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, molecular and behavioral approaches in a mouse model of FASD to study the consequences of prenatal ethanol exposure on embryonic corticogenesis, neurotransmitter receptors, synaptic transmission, and behavior. Our work has unifying implications insofar as the insights gained may be applicable toward understanding the pathoetiology of other neurodevelopmental brain disorders, such as autism and ADHD.

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