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Publications in VIVO

Niswander, Lee Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • The Niswander lab investigates mouse models of embryonic development to provide insights into fundamental developmental processes, major human birth defects and potential clinical therapies. Her studies over the years have revealed the molecular mechanisms that control the formation of the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as lung, limb, and neuromuscular development. The current focus of the lab is on the common and severe birth defect wherein the neural tube (NT) fails to close resulting in neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida. Using genetic, molecular, biochemical and cell biological assays they have identified numerous genes involved in NT closure and determined their mechanisms of action. The lab uses time-lapse imaging of the living mammalian embryo to couple molecular insights to the cell behaviors that drive NT closure. Environmental factors influence human NTD risk, and her lab uses mouse models to explore gene-environment interactions.


  • birth defects, neural tube defects, neural progenitors, human genetics, mouse development


selected publications


courses taught

  • MCDB 5220 Molecular Genetics (Methods and Logic) (Spring 2019)
  • MCDB 8990 Doctoral Dissertation (Fall 2018)


International Activities

global connections related to teaching and scholarly work (in recent years)

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