2017 Annual Meeting Featured Speakers

Dr. Phillippe Soriano

Dr. Philippe Soriano is an accomplished mouse geneticist whose research has focused on cell signaling pathways in development. He received his graduate training in France, did postdoctoral work in Germany and at the Whitehead Institute with Rudolf Jaenisch, and has assumed faculty positions at Baylor College of Medicine, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Mt. Sinai. He was a pioneer in using targeted gene knock-outs to study the gene function. His more recent research focuses on the study of signaling specificity downstream of PDGFs and FGFs in the embryo, particularly as it relates to craniofacial development.

Clare Baker

Clare Baker

Clare Baker is Reader in Comparative Developmental Neurobiology at the University of Cambridge, UK. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, supervised by Christopher Wylie and Janet Heasman, then trained with Nicole Le Douarin and Marianne Bronner-Fraser. Her research focuses on the development and evolution of the vertebrate peripheral sensory nervous system. Current areas of interest include the development and evolution of lateral line electroreceptors, and the development of olfactory ensheathing glia from the neural crest.

Brian Schutte

Brian ShutteThe primary research interest of the Schutte lab is to understand how genetic factors cause and contribute risk for craniofacial birth defects, especially cleft lip and palate.  The lab uses a combination of human and animal model genetics and genomics to identify these factors and then uses model organisms and molecular studies to determine pathophysiological mechanisms.  A new effort in the lab is to collaborate with a geneticist and surgeon in the college of veterinary medicine and a surgeon in the college of human medicine to develop a dog model for non-syndromic cleft palate.  The goal is to use this rapidly maturing animal model to perform prospective studies that test hypotheses generated from human retrospective studies.


Craig Albertson

Craig Alberston

My research interests lie at the intersection of genes, development and evolution.  For reasons of experimental utility and evolutionary richness, the primary research model in my lab is the craniofacial skeleton in bony fishes.  Specifically, we integrate studies in laboratory models (e.g., zebrafish) and natural populations (e.g., cichlid fishes) to address questions related to the development and evolution of complex phenotypes.  I have a broad background in bone biology, beginning as a medical assistant for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon during my undergraduate education.  During this time I observed and assisted in dozens of reconstructive surgeries, and it is from this experience that I gained an appreciation for the skull as an organ of unique complexity.  My PhD focused on the genetic basis of craniofacial variation, using cichlids as a model.  It was during this time that I began to accumulate the resources and lay the ground work for my research career.  For my postdoctoral training I chose to expand my experience in craniofacial genetics to a model organism, the zebrafish.  I joined the faculty in the Biology Department at Syracuse University in 2006, but relocated to the Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts in 2011 in order to take advantage of a strong core group of organismal, bone and developmental biologists.  Currently, personnel in my lab take a broad and integrative approach toward our research mission, combining tools and techniques from an array of fields including genetic/genomic mapping, experimental embryology, finite element analysis, and quantitative shape analysis (geometric morphometrics).

Licia Selleri

LSelleri at Lab

Dr. Selleri studies the genetic basis of how elaborately patterned tissues form during development. Her laboratory has combined different genetic approaches, using the mouse as a model, to understand basic developmental processes related to skeletal (cranial and appendicular) and spleen morphogenesis. The laboratory discovered that homeodomain-containing transcription factors of the Pbx family, also known as Hox-cofactors, are critical developmental regulators through the transcriptional control of target genes within tissue-specific regulatory networks.

The Selleri laboratory has used genetically-engineered and ethylnitrosourea (ENU)-mutagenized mouse lines as well as recently leveraging the strengths of different animal model systems, including rat, jerboa, chick, and human embryos, to understand the cellular, genetic, and regulatory mechanisms underlying morphogenesis of the embryonic midface. The ultimate goal is to use genome-wide and systems biology approaches to identify novel genes and regulatory networks underlying morphogenesis of embryonic structures, as well as their morphological variation, evolution, and perturbation in human congenital disease.