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Developmental Biology


The developmental biology program combines research activities centered in the Institute of Neuroscience with those in the Institute of Molecular Biology and the Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Several laboratories (Eisen, Guillemin, Kimmel, Postlethwait, Washbourne, and Westerfield) use zebrafish as a model in which to study the mechanisms underlying vertebrate development. Other research groups study development in the fruit fly (Doe, Guillemin, Herman, Johnson, Prehoda), the mouse (Guillemin, Kentros, Stankunas, Washbourne, Zong), the three spine stickleback (Cresko, Kimmel, Postlethwait), the nematode (Bowerman, Phillips), the frog (Roberts), yeast (Sprague, Stevens), neurospora (Selker), and evolving gene families (Thornton). Members of all of these laboratories actively share information and resources in this diverse and rapidly moving field. In addition to a graduate research training program, a weekly journal club, and joint research group meetings, the developmental biologists participate in a yearly symposium on a topic of interest selected by graduate students in the participating laboratories.

Program Members


Chris Doe
Generation of neuron and glial diversity; asymmetric cell division
Judith Eisen
Specification and patterning of neurons and neural crest cells
Clifford Kentros
Cellular and molecular basis of memory; regulation of gene expression in the mammalian brain
Charles Kimmel
Cranial skeletal morphogenesis
Adam Miller
Neural circuit development and function in zebrafish. Genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, and function of electrical synapses.
John Postlethwait
Genetic regulation of development; evolution of the vertebrate genome
Philip Washbourne
Molecular mechanisms of synapse formation
Monte Westerfield
Ear and eye development and pathogenesis; synaptic development


Bruce Bowerman
Genetic analysis of cytoskeleton development in C.elegans
Karen Guillemin

Bacterial-host interactions in development; H. pylori mechanisms of pathogenesis

Tory Herman
Neural target selection and synapse formation
Eric Johnson
Hypoxia, genomics, gene regulation
Ken Prehoda
Signal transduction; protein interactions networks; x-ray crystallography
Eric Selker

Epigenetics; DNA methylation; genome dynamics; gene silencing; position effects

George Sprague
Genetic regulatory mechanisms
Kryn Stankunas
Chromatin dynamics and epigenetic control of vertebrate development
Tom Stevens
Cellular and developmental mechanisms of membrane biogenesis; protein sorting; organelle assembly


William Cresko
Developmental genetics of evolving traits; gene and genome duplication; evolutionary genetics
Patrick Phillips

Empirical and theoretical studies of developmental genetics, evolutionary genetics, ecology, and behavior

Joe Thornton
Phylogenomics; evolution of nuclear receptor gene families



University of Oregon

Last Updated 5/27/2015 -