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Biomedical Sciences
Drew Noden, Ph.D.
Professor of Embryology and Animal Development

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Phone: 607 253 3558
E-mail: dmn2@cornell.edu

Figure 1
Figure 1. This is a lateral view of a 14-day chick embryo, with the eye removed. It has been stained to reveal the presence of all cells positive for a bacterial β-galactosidase enzyme, which was introduced by microinjecting replication-incompetent retroviruses into paraxial mesoderm at 1.5 days of incubation. This strategy for fate mapping reveals that myoblasts, chondroblast, and osteoblasts destined to contribute to two eye muscles and specific parts of the skull arise from a restricted site within head mesoderm.(click for larger image)

Figure 2
Figure 2. Lo and higher magnification micrographs showing the head muscles in a 7-day chimeric chick embryo. This animal received a transplant of quail trunk segmental plate (pre-somitic) mesoderm. The blue stain shown antibody binding to skeletal myosin heavy chain; brown nuclear staining identifies cells derived from grafted quail mesoderm. This shows that trunk mesoderm is capable of forming a normal lateral rectus (LR) muscle. Muscles arising from outside the site of transplantation, such as the dorsal rectus (DR) are normal but do not contain any quail nuclei.(click for larger image)

Research Interests

My research explores the development of vertebrate craniofacial muscles, blood vessels, and skeletal tissues. Our goal is to understand the interactions between precursor populations and their neighbors that may be important to the initiation and progression of cell differentiation and the morphogenesis of musculoskeletal complexes.

Each research project typically has two components. First, we prepare a biography of each progenitor cell population. This includes documenting the complete developmental history of each lineage using a combination of transplantation and viral infection strategies, and defining patterns of gene expression and protein synthesis using in situ hybridization, and immunocytochemistry. With this background, we probe the mechanisms underlying each developmental change by modifying signal generating or responding cells. This is done using electroporation or viral vectors to introduce novel genes into progenitor populations. Often this is combined with transplantation of identified precursors to novel locations.

At present I am focusing on myogenesis and have (1) identified the specific sites of origin of each muscle in the head and neck of the chick embryo, (2) catalogued the time of activation of several key myogenesis regulatory genes in eye, jaw, tongue, and trunk muscles, and (3) defined the time and locations of fast and slow myosin heavy chain synthesis for each head muscle. Transplantation analyses reveal that the myogenic signaling systems for head and trunk muscles share some but not all components. Primary trunk myoblasts are committed to synthesizing slow myosins initially, but head myoblasts are not and will synthesize whatever myosin is appropriate for their immediate surroundings.

Recent Publications

  1. Noden, D.M., R.M.Marcucio, A-G. Borycki, C.P. Emerson, Jr. (1999) Differentiation of avial craniofacial meusles. I. Patterns of early regulatory gene expression and myosin heavy chain synthesis. Dev. Dynamics 216 96-112.
  2. Ruberte, J., A. Carretero, M. Navarro, R.S. Marcucio, D.M. Noden (2003) Morphogenesis of blood vessels in avian cephalic muscles: spatial, temporal, and VEGF expression. Dev. Dynamics 227:470-83.
  3. Borue, X. and D. M. Noden (2004) Normal and aberrant craniofacial myogenesis by grafted trunk somitic and segmental plate mesoderm. Development 131:3967-80.
  4. Noden, D.M. and P.A. Trainor (2005) Relations and interactions between cranial mesoderm and neural crest populations. J. Anat. (in press).
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