Thomas Kidd, Ph.D.

Thomas Kidd

Contact Information


  • B.A., Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 1990
  • Ph.D., Zoology, Oxford University, England, 1994


  • 1994-1999 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California at Berkeley
  • 1999-2003 Senior Scientist, Exelixis Inc., South San Francisco
  • 2003-present Biology Department, University of Nevada, Reno

Research Interests

The wiring of nervous systems is composed of axons, specialized extensions of neurons that transmit electrical impulses. During development axons navigate long distances to their targets. We use fruit fly genetics to study how axons navigate correctly. In the fly equivalent of a spinal cord, axons are attracted to the center of symmetry, the midline, by diffusible proteins called Netrins. We have identified the Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule (Dscam) as a novel Netrin receptor. Dscam also binds other diffusible molecules that represent missing midline attractants. We have generated adult flies lacking these signals; they exhibit specific behavioral defects that provide a functional readout for the consequences of incorrect wiring. We are also studying formation of the gut nervous system and the links between guiding axons and tumor progression. Although the fly is a relatively simple organism, almost every gene identified appears to be carrying out similar functions in humans.

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 300 Genetics
  • BIOL 395 Laboratory in Genetics and Cell Biology
  • BIOL 105 Introduction to Neuroscience

Selected Publications


  • Dascenco D, Erfurth ML, Izadifar A, Song M, Sachse S, Bortnick R, Urwyler O, Petrovic M, Ayaz D, He H, Kise Y, Thomas F, Kidd T, Schmucker D. (2015). Slit and receptor tyrosine phosphatase 69D confer spatial specificity to axon branching via Dscam1. Cell. 162:1140-54.
  • Hernández K, Myers LG, Bowser M, Kidd T. (2015). Genetic tools for the analysis of Drosophila stomatogastric nervous development. PLoS One. 10:e0128290
  • Newquist, G., Drennan, J.M., Lamanuzzi, M., Walker, K., Clemens, J.C. and Kidd, T. (2013). Blocking apoptotic signaling rescues axon guidance in Netrin mutants. Cell Reports 3:595-605.
    Video Link
    Nevada Today article
  • Newquist, G., Hogan, J., Walker, K., Lamanuzzi, M., Bowser, M. and Kidd, T. (2013). Control of male and female fertility by the Netrin axon guidance genes. PLoS One 8(8):e72524.
  • Kidd, T. (2009). Neuroscience: crossing the line. Science, 324:893-894.
  • Cavalcanti, F., Kidd, T., Patitucci, A., Valentino, P., Bono, F., Nistico, R., & Quattrone, A. (2009). An axon regeneration signature in a Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Type 2 patient. Journal of Neurogenetics 23:324-328.
  • Andrews, G.L., Tanglao, S., Farmer, W.T., Morin, S., Brotman, S., Berberoglu, M., Price, H., Mastick, G., Charron, F. and Kidd, T. (2008). Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule is an evolutionarily conserved Netrin receptor required for axon guidance and cell migration. Development, 135:3839-48.
  • Farmer, W.T., Altick, A.L., Nural, H.F., Dugan, J.P., Kidd, T., Charron, F. and Mastick, G.S. (2008). Pioneer longitudinal axons navigate using floor plate and Slit/Robo signals. Development, 135:3643-53.
  • Kidd, T., Abu-Shumays, R., Katzen, A., Sisson, J., Jimenez, G., Pinchin, S., Sullivan, W., Ish-Horowicz, D. (2005). The epsilon subunit of mitochondrial ATP synthase is required for normal spindle orientation during the Drosophila embryonic divisions. Genetics. 170:697-708.
    Brose, K., Bland, K.S., Wang, K.H., Arnott, D., Henzel, W., Goodman, C.S., Tessier-Lavigne, M. and Kidd, T. (1999). Slit proteins bind Robo receptors and have an evolutionarily conserved role in repulsive axon guidance. Cell. 96:795-806.
  • Kidd, T., Bland, K.S. and Goodman, C.S. (1999). Slit is the midline repellent for the Robo receptor in Drosophila. Cell. 96:785-794.
  • Kidd, T., Brose, K., Mitchell, K.J., Fetter, R.D., Tessier-Lavigne, M., Goodman, C.S. and Tear, G. (1998). Roundabout controls axon crossing of the CNS midline and defines a novel subfamily of evolutionarily conserved guidance receptors. Cell. 92:205-215.