The Laboratory for Developmental Biology
phone 713.500.2452; fax 713.500.2424
Rick A. Wetsel, Ph.D.; Professor and Director
Eva M. Zsigmond, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor and Associate Director
Aleksey Domozhirov; Manager
The Laboratory for Developmental Biology was established to help scientists at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and the University of Texas conduct research that requires the production of transgenic and knock-out animal models of human diseases. Genetically-altered animals, called transgenic and "knock-out" animals, represent invaluable models of human genetic diseases. In these animals, candidate genes are inserted or deleted in order to study the role that specific gene products play in the pathogenesis of different diseases.
During the last five years, the Laboratory for Developmental Biology has produced over five hundred new, transgenic and knock-out mouse lines for scientists from the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, the University of Texas, Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Some of the animal models generated at this Core Facility were instrumental in the discovery of new genes that have important roles in the development of heart disease, asthma and cancer, just to name a few. By working together with and helping scientists to advance their research, the Core Facility has become an integral and valued component of the University.
Recently, the services of the Laboratory for Developmental Biology have expanded to include a Stem Cell Research Core Facility. This is the only facility in the Texas Medical Center that offers scientists intellectual and technical assistance in stem cell research. Mouse stem lines newly derived in the laboratory are available to investigators to use in their experiments in order to integrate this revolutionary new technology into their own research.
In addition to providing intellectual and technical assistance to other scientists, the Laboratory for Developmental Biology also conducts original research in stem cell therapy.
The laboratory's recent accomplishments include the derivation of new, highly effective mouse stem cells and the genetic modification of these cells to emit a green light. The modified, glowing stem cells may be visually followed when re-implanted into the body and thus they represent an invaluable tool for studying the process by which stem cells regenerate tissues and organs that have been damaged by disease.
The Laboratory's future research plans include the genetic engineering of the stem cells to prevent immune rejection following transplantation into a different organism, differentiation of the stem cells into different cell types for transplantation research, and the application of the knowledge and experience that was gained by working with the mouse stem cells to research with human stem cells.
For more information please call the number listed above.