Grant Mastick, Ph.D.
Department: Biology, Biochemistry
Academic Unit: College of Science
Title: Associate Professor
Professional degrees (Degree, year, Institution): Ph.D., 1992, Carnegie Mellon University
Mail Stop: 314
Neurobiology, Genetics, Developmental Biology, Cell Biology
To build a brain, the embryo must produce a spatially organized array of a vast number of neurons, then interconnect them. We use genetic and molecular approaches in mouse and chick embryos to investigate the functions of specific genes in brain development. This research has implications for the molecular therapy of neurological disease and injury, and is funded by the March of Dimes and the National Institutes of Health.
Our current interests are to define how longitudinal axons navigate through the brain. Axons actively grow along precise pathways through brain tissue. Very little is known about the molecular signals or how axons might respond with precise longitudinal growth. We are currently exploring the roles of diffusible proteins that act as long distance signals. Our results indicate that the Slit family of chemorepellents, and their Robo receptors, are critical for axons to grow along precise longitudinal pathways. We are currently investigating Slit/Robo mechanisms using a range of approaches in embryos and in cultured axons. In addition, other signals, such as the Netrin chemoattractants, also play roles in longitudinal axon guidance. This research has implications for neurodevelopmental disorders, including Downs Syndrome and autism. The goal of these studies is reach an integrated view of the molecular mechanisms of longitudinal axon guidance.
Current Graduate Students
Brielle Bjorke, Biochemistry PhD student.
Farnaz Shoja Taheri, Cell and Molecular Biology PhD student
Tatiana Fontelonga, Biotechnology MS student
Other Lab Members
Minkyung Kim, postdoctoral fellow
Pioneer longitudinal axons navigate using floor plate and Slit/Robo signals.
Farmer WT, Altick AL, Nural HF, Dugan JP, Kidd T, Charron F, Mastick GS.
Development. 2008 Nov;135(22):3643-53.
Dscam guides embryonic axons by Netrin-dependent and -independent functions.
Andrews GL, Tanglao S, Farmer WT, Morin S, Brotman S, Berberoglu MA, Price H, Fernandez GC, Mastick GS, Charron F, Kidd T.
Development. 2008 Dec;135(23):3839-48.
The Slit receptor Robo1 is predominantly expressed via the Dutt1 alternative promoter in pioneer neurons in the embryonic mouse brain and spinal cord.
Nural HF, Todd Farmer W, Mastick GS.
Gene Expr Patterns. 2007 Oct;7(8):837-45.
Precocious retinal neurons: Pax6 controls timing of differentiation and determination of cell type.
Philips GT, Stair CN, Young Lee H, Wroblewski E, Berberoglu MA, Brown NL, Mastick GS.
Dev Biol. 2005 Mar 15;279(2):308-21.
R-cadherin is a Pax6-regulated, growth-promoting cue for pioneer axons.
Andrews GL, Mastick GS.
J Neurosci. 2003 Oct 29;23(30):9873-80.
Faculty by research area
- Mastick, C
- Mastick C.
- Mastick G.
- Van der Linden
- von Bartheld
- von Bartheld