Lee Niswander, PhD

Principal Investigator

The Niswander lab investigates novel mouse models of embryonic development with the overarching goal of providing insights into fundamental developmental processes, major human birth defects and potential clinical therapies. Her studies over the years have provided a unique perspective on the molecular mechanisms that control the formation of the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as lung, limb, and neuromuscular development. The current focus of the lab is on the common and severe birth defect wherein the neural tube (NT) fails to close resulting in neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida. Using a combination of genetic, molecular, biochemical and cell biological assays they have identified numerous genes involved in NT closure and determined their mechanisms of action. Niswander’s lab also developed innovative methods for time-lapse imaging of the living mammalian embryo to couple molecular insights to the regulation of cell behaviors that drive NT closure. Environmental factors clearly influence human NTD risk, and her lab uses mouse models to explore gene-environment interactions that influence NTD incidence.

Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology program Retreat
Vail, Colorado
October 10th-12th 2019


News and Announcements

->Congratulations David Engelhardt on your recent funding acquisition: Signaling and Cellular Regulation training grant!

->Congratulations Huili Li on your recent publications:

"Genetic contribution of retinoid related genes to neural tube defects"

Journal of Human Mutation.(2018). Huili Li1,2, Jing Zhang 1 , Shuyuan Chen 3 , Fang Wang 2 , Ting Zhang 2 *, Lee Niswander 1 *.

"Does DNA methylation provide a link between folate and neural tube closure?"

Epigenomics. (2018). Huili Li and Lee Niswander.

"Zinc deficiency causes neural tube defects through attenuation of p53 ubiquitylation"

Huili Li, Jing Zhang, Lee Niswander. Development 2018 145: dev169797 doi: 10.1242/dev.169797 Published 13 December 2018

University of Colorado at Boulder 

Boulder, CO

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