Brian Black, PhD


The molecular and developmental basis for the majority of birth defects is unknown. Tissues and organs form during mammalian embryonic development through the integration of numerous signaling and transcriptional pathways. Our major goal is to define pathways controlling organogenesis to understand normal development, the molecular basis for congenital defects, and potential mechanisms for organ regeneration and repair. Using the mouse as a model system, current work in the lab is focused primarily on pathways controlling cardiovascular and craniofacial development. The long term scientific goal of these studies is to define the how tissues and cells are integrated during organogenesis and how cells receive and interpret positional information. We are using a combination of conditional gene knockouts, transgenic reporter assays, and biochemical, computational and genomic approaches to understand organogenesis, with a particular focus on transcriptional control. The ultimate goal of these studies is to development diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for birth defects of the heart and other organ systems.