Summer Research 2015

Upcoming Summer Research

We are excited to announce we will be hosting 5 different visiting scientists. It’s going to be a busy summer in the NXR!

But don’t forget about visiting year-round. If you have the projects, we have the frogs and the resources!


Gorbsky Lab Website

Gary Gorbsky (MBL Research Award)
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

My laboratory at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation studies cell cycle regulation during mitosis. We are interested in how chromosomes assemble, move and especially how the events of mitosis are timed. We study signaling of the mitotic spindle checkpoint and its regulation of the E3 ubiquitin ligase, the anaphase-promoting complex or cyclosome. We are particularly interested in how defects in the regulation of timing results in chromosome instability which can result in whole chromosome aneuploidy as well as gains, losses, and translocations of large chromosome segments. Chromosome instability is an important factor in tumor evolution, aging, and in human fertility and birth defects. Many of our studies have relied upon the use of a diploid Xenopus laevis cell line, called S3, which was developed in the laboratory of Doug Desimone at the University of Virginia. Our plans for the summer are to develop new diploid cell lines from both X. laevis and X. tropicalis embryos. We will then use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to generate mutant cell lines. Nuclear transfer from these cell lines to eggs in which the endogenous nucleus is inactivated will allow immediate generation of mutant tadpoles and frogs. One of our long term goals is to use this technology to study regeneration in Xenopus tadpoles.


Furlow Lab Website

David Furlow (MBL Research Award)
UC DavisMetamorphosis in frogs and toads, as well as in certain insects and crustaceans, represents the most dramatic effect of any hormone in nature. We are studying the molecular mechanisms underlying how thyroid hormone, which also critically regulates brain development and overall metabolism in humans, induces a wide variety of tissue changes that turn the purely aquatic tadpole into the adult frog.  These remarkable changes are mediated by specific thyroid hormone receptor subtypes that act as ligand regulated transcription factors. However, the precise role of each receptor subtype in tissue specific and developmental stage specific responses to the hormone are unclear. We are applying emerging powerful genetic approaches in Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis available at the Xenopus National Resource at MBL to reduce the expression of each receptor subtype, and test their importance in specific pathways during early development and thyroid hormone dependent metamorphosis. These studies will contribute to our understanding of tissue specific actions of hormones in a developmental context, using this highly evolutionarily conserved endocrine signaling system.Another important aspect of our work is determining the effect of environmental chemicals on proper thyroid hormone signaling in vertebrate development. We are further applying the available genetic technologies now available in the organism to produce tadpoles that express an easily measurable, hormone responsive reporter gene. This will allow us to detect proper temporal and spatial thyroid hormone action in vivo, in response to both endogenous hormones and potential environmental contaminants. Thus, our research is focused on answering basic questions regarding thyroid hormone’s action during development, with clear biomedical and environmental toxicology applications.


Brian Mitchell (MBL Research Award)
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Cell and Molecular BiologyThe ability of ciliated epithelia to generate directed fluid flow is essential to numerous biological and physiological processes.  Our research focuses on the development of multi-ciliated cells using the embryonic skin of Xenopus.  One feature of this development is the requirement of these cells to generate approximately 150 centrioles that will become the basal bodies of their motile cilia.  This centriole biogenesis requires a poorly characterized structure called the deuterosome which is capable of nucleating  de novo centriole formation.  We have identified numerous proteins that localize to the deuterosome, yet how these cells have uncoupled centriole biogenesis from cell cycle progression and how they regulate proper centriole numbers remain unanswered questions.  We will utilize the genome editing expertise of the National Xenopus Resource Center (NXR) housed at the MBL to generate numerous mutants of deuterosome related genes.  Our goal is to perform a systematic characterization of this enigmatic structure to gain insight into mechanisms of centriole biogenesis.

The NXR will have space available for summer researchers as well as facilities to maintain frog lines during the summer and frogs for sale to use.

If interested in conducting research during the summer or during the rest of the year, please contact for more information.