Pediatrics: Developmental Biology

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Developmental Biology Graduate Students

Brett Deml, a graduate student in Dr. Semina’s laboratory, joined the PhD program in Basic and Translational Sciences and IDP after four years of working in a clinical genetics lab. His project focuses on anophthalmia, microphthalmia and ocular coloboma, using whole exome sequencing to identify novel factors involved in these disorders. A number of genes have been shown to be involved in these disorders but a large proportion of cases remain unexplained.

Eric Weh, a graduate student in Dr. Semina’s laboratory, is also a part of the PhD program in Basic and Translational Sciences and IDP. His project focuses on discovering the molecular mechanisms of Peters Plus Syndrome (PPS) through the use of whole exome sequencing and studying gene expression in zebrafish. As part of his training, Eric had the opportunity to meet with a family affected with PPS and reports that “this experience has shown me that the science we perform has an actual impact on the lives of the families and patients who provide us with genetic material for study.”

Kevin Wright, a graduate student in Dr. Shim’s laboratory, is enrolled in the IDP. His scholastic interests are in developmental biology and genetics, and he is currently working to understand the molecular signals that control specification of inner ear cells. His aim in the Shim lab is to use both mouse genetics and an in vitro embryonic stem cell model to get a more precise understanding of the functions of multiple signals that induce inner ear cells. The long-term goal of these studies is to inform efforts to better differentiate inner ear cells in culture for use in the treatment of hearing deficits.

 

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