On this site you can read posts related to news and discoveries in the Cerveny lab. You’ll also find links to various projects that students complete as a part of their Biology coursework, including individual projects from Developmental Biology (BIOL351L) and written perspectives on current research in developmental and cellular biology, mostly from our Developmental Neurobiology Course (BIO 431).
The Cerveny lab mission is to uncover how neuronal progenitors transition from proliferation to differentiation. Specific research projects employ precise embryological and imaging techniques, requiring creativity, time management, patience, critical thinking, and a sense of wonder. We value curiosity, dedication, and kindness. Kara Cerveny, assistant professor of biology at Reed College, and zebrafish are our fearless leaders.
We examine the growing eyes and brains of zebrafish, investigating the formation and maintenance of neural stem cell niches in the retina and tectum. Many of our experiments are designed to uncover new clues about how the environment around a cell can influence its ability to proliferate or differentiate, a behavior with implications for developmental diseases, including many types of cancer. By analyzing behaviors of mutant cells grafted into wild-type retinae, monitoring cell cycle progression in the developing eye, and interrogating how specific extrinsic signals impinge on cell cycle exit, we investigate how local environmental signals influence cell cycle exit and differentiation of neuronal progenitors. On-going projects are designed to:
(1) Explain why distinct classes of retinal progenitors appear to be more or less sensitive to differentiation cues from the local environment
(2) Quantitatively dissect cell cycle kinetics of retinal stem and progenitor cells in vivo
(3) Define how specific extrinsically modulated pathways, including Hedgehog, TGF-β, Notch, and Retinoic Acid controls cell cycle exit and differentiation of retinal progenitors emerging from their stem cell niche.