Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Mark A. Bothwell
Professor, Department of Physiology & Biophysics
The differentiative processes of embryonic development are coordinated by cell-to-cell communication. Cell membrane-anchored signaling molecules convey information between cells in direct contact, while diffusible polypeptide growth factors convey information between cells at a distance. Activation of cell membrane receptors by such signaling molecules regulates cellular functions as diverse as directed cell migration, transcription of genes responsible for cellular differentiation, and programmed cell death.
My laboratory uses the tools of molecular biology to examine the biological functions and the cellular mechanisms of action of such signaling molecules. A major focus of our research is signaling by receptors for the neurally active growth factors known as neurotrophins.
We also have a growing interest in the functions of cellullar antenna-like processes known as primary cilia. Primary cilia importantly regulate cellular polarity, and function as platforms for locally restricted signaling pathways, in cell types as diverse as neurons and stem cells.