Andrew Latimer, Assistant Research Scientist
Cellular Dynamics Program
|Address||MBL, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543|
Drew Latimer is a developmental biologist and Track II Assistant Research Scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Gitlin, which uses zebrafish embryos as a model to study the biology of copper. He is primarily interested in understanding how copper and copper dependent proteins function during embryonic development, with a specific view towards determining how copper deficiency affects brain development. His previous work in Dr. Bruce Appel’s lab at Vanderbilt University determined roles for the Delta-‐Notch signaling pathway during gastrulation and established the origin of the zebrafish hypochord, a transient organ in anamniotes that is an important signaling center in the developing embryo. During his training he also made significant contributions to several areas including left-‐right patterning initiation, spinal cord oligodendrocyte progenitor behavior, and extracellular matrix formation and dependent cell movements during gastrulation. In his current work he uses a combination of genetics and small molecules in zebrafish embryos to study the effects of varying degrees of copper deficiency. The results of these studies emphasize that different tissues and cell types in zebrafish embryos have different sensitivities to loss of copper, as is the case in humans. In particular, specific cell types in the brain appear more sensitive than others to copper deficiency and understanding why is an important step toward understanding the neurodevelopmental abnormalities that underlie Menkes disease, a fatal childhood disorder of copper deficiency in humans. He is furthermore interested in understanding how copper homeostasis is achieved during development and is establishing site-‐specific gene mutations in zebrafish to study the function of copper associated proteins during early development.
Dr. Latimer received his B.S. in biology from Presbyterian College in 1996 and his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University in 2004. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Jason Jessen at Vanderbilt University before joining Dr. Gitlin’s lab as a staff scientist in 2009. He began his appointment as Assistant Research Scientist at the MBL in 2012.