- Areas of Study
- About A&S
- Faculty & Staff
- Cultural Initiatives
- Research Initiatives
- Biology Major
- Molecular and Integrative Biology
- Pre-Health Sci. Emphasis
- Fisheries and Wildlife Biology
- Teacher Certification
- Minor in Biology
- Jay Boulanger
- Jeffrey Carmichael
- Brian Darby
- Diane Darland
- Tristan Darland
- Susan Ellis-Felege
- Chris Felege
- Brett Goodwin
- Steve Kelsch
- Peter Meberg
- Robert Newman
- Igor Ovtchinnikov
- Steven Ralph
- Turk Rhen
- Isaac Schlosser
- William Sheridan
- Rebecca Simmons
- Vasyl Tkach
- Jefferson Vaughan
- Kathryn Yurkonis
Starcher Hall Room 113
Office Tel: 701.777.4597
B.A. in Biology, 1988, University of California, San Diego, CA
Ph.D. in Cell & Developmental Biology, 1998, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR
Appointments (Past Positions)
Mentored Investigator, Schepens Eye Research Institute; Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Schepens Eye Research Institute and Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital and Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Graduate student, Cell & Developmental Biology Department, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR
Research technician/Laboratory Manager, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, CA
The overarching theme of my research addresses how changes in gene expression patterns regulate cell fate choices during central nervous system (CNS) development. In addition to the regulatory processes that occur during normal development, I am interested in the cell and molecular changes that occur in response to environmental toxins. I am a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the North American Vascular Biology Organization (UND Campus Representative), and the Society for Developmental Biology.
My current research addresses the influence of heterotypic cell-cell interactions during central nervous system development. My work is designed to test the hypothesis that neurovascular interactions stabilize the vasculature during development and under pathologic conditions. I am also investigating the role of a traditionally vascular factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on the regulation of neurogenesis. I am currently conducting these studies using in vitro cell culture approaches and an in vivo system using transgenic mice. An image of nestin (red) and lectin (green) labelled developing cortical neuroepithelium is shown to the right (photo courtesy of Jake Cain).
I am also initiating a new research direction, in collaboration with Dr. Tristan Darland, to investigate the impact of environmental toxins on the development of the nervous system using the zebrafish as a model organism. The rationale behind these latter investigations is to determine the impact that early, low levels of toxin exposure can have on not only the neural stem cells of the developing system, but also on the ability of the adult system to respond to stress.
In addition, I am collaborating with members of the UND Epigenetics and Epigenomics focus group to develop a new research area of investigation involving the epigenetic mechanisms that control neural stem cell fate choice in early mouse cortical development. We recently shared our research progress in neural-vascular interactions and epigenetic neural stem cell regulation at the Neural Epigenetics Symposium, "Building Better Brains" (April 2016).
My current teaching includes a combination of upper and lower division courses that are designed to encourage interactive learning paradigms. In the Fall, I teach Developmental Biology (BIO378) that provides an overview of general developmental biology principles, including the general stages of development associated with a variety of species, experimental approaches used to study developmental processes, and the genetic and environmental influences that govern development. In parallel, I teach a one-credit practical laboratory course (BIOL378L) associated with the Developmental Biology class that is designed to provide students with an opportunity to practice concepts learned in the main course. In the Spring, I teach General Biology II, part of the Introduction to Biology series that is designed to provide Biology Majors with a broad base of concepts associated with molecular regulation, species diversity, ecology, and the environment. In the past, I have taught both the Cell and Molecular as well as the Physiology portion of General Biology I (BIOL150), Special Topics Seminars (BIOL491/503) on the Brain, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Integrative Biology, as well as the Biology Senior Capstone (BIOL480) and Orientation to the Major (BIOL120). In all my teaching, I incorporate team-based learning approaches and discussion as part of student-centered learning.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
I firmly believe that incorporating research experiences into undergraduate education is critical to help support student success. Undergraduates work in the laboratory during the academic year and in the summer gaining valuable experience in research techniques, problem solving, and critical thinking. Students are encouraged to present their research results at local, regional, and national meetings. Current lab members are listed below.
Mersereau, E., Boyle, C.A., Poitra, S., Espinosa, A., Seiler, J., Longie, R., Delvo, L., Szarkowski, M. Maliske, J., Chalmers, S., Darland, D.C., Darland, T. Longitudinal Effects of Embryonic Exposure to Cocaine on Morphology, Cardiovascular Physiology, and Behavior in Zebrafish. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2016 May 17:847-865; [doi:10.3390/ijms17060847] Special Note: This is an issue dedicated to zebrafish toxicology models.
Cain, JT, Berosik, MA, Snyder, SD, Crawford, NF, Nour, SI, Schaubhut, GJ, and Darland, DC Shifts in the Vascular endothelial growth factor (Vegf) isoforms result in transcriptome changes correlated with early neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation in mouse forebrain. Developmental Neurobiology, 2014; 74(1):63-81. PMID: 24124161
Darland, T, Mauch, JT, Meier, EM, Hagan, SJ, Dowling, JE, and Darland, DC Sulpiride, but not SCH23390, modifies cocaine-induced conditioned place preference and expression of Tyrosine hydroxylase and Elongation factor 1α in zebrafish. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 2012; 103(2):157-167. PMID: 22910534
Darland, DC and Carmichael, JS Long-term retention of knowledge and critical thinking skills in Developmental Biology. J of Microbiology and Biology Education 2012; 13(2):125-132. PMID: 23653799
Darland, DC, Cain, JT, Berosik, MA, Saint-Geniez, M, Odens, PW, Schaubhut, GJ, Frisch, S, Stemmer-Rachamimov, A, Darland, T, and D'Amore, PA Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoform regulation of early forebrain development. Developmental Biology 358(1):9-22, 2011. PMID: 21803034
Sharma, S, Darland, DC, Lei, S, Rakoczy, S, Brown-Borg, HM NMDA and kainate receptor expression, long-term potentiation and neurogenesis in the hippocampus of long-lived Ames dwarf mice. AGE May 5. [Epub ahead of print]) PMID: 21544578, 2011. PMID: 21544578
Saint-Geniez, M, Maharaj, ASR, Walshe, TE, Tucker, BA, Sekiyama, E, Kurihara, T, Darland, DC, Young, MJ and D'Amore, PA Endogenous VEGF Is Required for Visual Function: Evidence for a Survival Role on Müller Cells and Photoreceptors. J Experimental Medicine 3(11):e3554, 2008. PMID: 18978936
Ergorul, C, Ray, A, Huang, W, Darland, D, Zhonghui, K, and Grosskreutz, C Levels of Vascular endothelial growth factor-A 165-b (VEGF165b) are elevated in experimental glaucoma. Molecular Vision 14:1517-1524, 2008. PMID: 18728749
Levenberg, S, Rouwkema, J, MacDonald, M, Garfein, ES, Kohane, D, Darland, DC, Marini, R, vanBlitterswijk, CA, Muligan, RC, D'Amore, PA, Langer, R. Engineering vascularized skeletal muscle tissue. Nature Biotechnology, 23(7):879-84, 2005. PMID: 15965465
Arboleda-Velasquez, JF, Rampal, R, Fung, E, Darland, DC, Liu, M, Martinez, MC, Donahue, CP, Navarro-Gonzalez, MF, Libby, P, D'Amore, PA, Aikawa, M, Haltiwanger, RS, Kosik, KS. Cadasil mutations impair Notch3 glycosylation by fringe. Human Molecular Genetics, 14(12): 1631-1639, 2005. PMID: 15857853
Garcia, CM, Darland, DC, Massingham, LJ, D'Amore, PA. Endothelial cell-astrocyte interactions and TGFB are required for induction of blood-neural barrier properties, Developmental Brain Research, 152:25-38, 2004. PMID: 15283992
Morris PN, Dunmore BJ, Tadros A, Marchuk DA, Darland DC, D'Amore PA & Brindle NPJ. Functional analysis of a mutant form of the receptor tyrosine kinase Tie2 causing venous malformations. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 83:58-63, 2004. PMID: 15526080
Ding, R, Darland, DC, Parmacek, MS, and D'Amore, PA. Endothelial-mesenchymal interactions in vitro reveal molecular mechanisms of smooth muscle/pericyte differentiation. Stem Cells and Development, 13:509-520, 2004. PMID: 15588508
Darland, DC, Massingham, LJ, Smith, SR, Piek, E, Saint-Geniez, M. and D'Amore, PA. Pericyte production of cell-associated VEGF is differentiation-dependent and is associated with endothelial survival. Developmental Biology, 264:275-288, 2003. PMID: 14623248
Darland, DC and D'Amore, PA. TGFβ is required for the formation of capillary-like structures in three-dimensional cocultures of 10T1/2 and endothelial cells. Angiogenesis, 4:11-20, 2001 PMID: 11824373
UND Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity Award. "The Ins and Outs of the Polycomb Repressive Complex: Modeling Epigenetic Modifiers from Primary protein Sequence to Tertiary Protein Structure", Co-PIs: Thomasson, K., Rhen, T., Dhasarathy, A., Darland, D. and Simmons, R.
UND Pilot Post-Doctoral Funding Program Award. "Development of a New Nanomaterial-Near Infrared Fluorescent Quantum Dots for High Resolution Bioimaging", Co-PIs: Zhao, J.X. and Darland, D.C.
Recently Completed Grants:
Epigenetics Pilot Project Grant, Darland, D.C. (PI), 1/01/15-05/31/15; "Neural-vascular interactions in cortical development".
National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Darland, D.C. (PI), 5/01/11-04/30/14; "R15/AREA: VEGF regulation of neurogenesis".
Current Laboratory Members
Elvira Tkach is a research technician who manages the mouse colony and coordinates all aspects of the Starcher Hall animal facility. She coordinates genotyping of the transgenic mice as well as handling all documentation and accreditation efforts.
Kayla Michelson is a UND undergraduate student majoring in Biology with an interest in neural-vascular interactions in the nervous system, particularly in the retina and developing cortex. She is an active participant in the U.S. Masters program at UND and is a McNair scholar. She will be starting her Masters in Biology training in the Fall of 2016 at UND.
Garret Thorlakson is a former UND Biology Major who has been working in the lab for over a year, helping to develop quantitative imaging approaches for visualizing the brain vasculature. He will start his Dental School training in the Fall of 2016.
Jadyn Cox is a UND Biology major who is interested in pursuing a research-related career. She is currently working in the laboratory investigating epigenetics and neural-vascular interactions as well as working on the 3D vascular imaging project.
Wyatt Limke is a UND undergraduate student majoring in Biology with a Pre-Health emphasis. He is working on a project to investigate changes in expression of key regulatory genes associated with neural stem cell fate decisions. He is also working on neural-vascular interactions in an in vitro model of neural stem cell development and differentiation.
Iman Said is an undergraduate Biology Major who will be working on the neuroepigenetics project, focusing on 3D imaging and transcriptional regulation in neurospheres.