Marsh Life Science Building, Rm 313
Phone: (802) 656-0458
My research focuses on two aspects of zebrafish eye development. The eyes develop from forebrain tissues and must migrate bilaterally to take up their final position. I am interested in what mechanisms/molecules are involved in maintaining eye tissue cohesion as they undergo elegant movements of morphogenesis and migration. I have discovered a novel role for signaling molecules previously known for their roles in axon guidance, semaphorins and plexins, in tissue cohesion of the developing eye.
The other focus of my research involves fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling in patterning the retinal vasculature and maintenance of Retinal Ganglion Cell (RGC) morphogenesis and survival. Loss of FGF8a or inhibition of the FGF receptors (FGFRs) results in embryos with fewer RGCs and small optic nerves. We are uncovering a role for FGF signaling in maintenance and survival of RGCs by regulating vascularization of the retina.