Faculty & Staff Directory

Merritt DeLano-Taylor

Photo of Merritt DeLano-Taylor

Email
taylomer@gvsu.edu

Title
Associate Professor

Office
211 Henry Hall

Phone
616-331-8839

Fax
616-331-2090

Office Hours

See available times here, or by appointment.

Courses Taught

BMS 202 - Anatomy and Physiology
BMS 202L - Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory
BMS 290 - Human Physiology
BMS 291 - Human Physiology Laboratory
BMS 428 - Neuroscience

Education/Training

Post-doctoral fellow, University of Michigan
Ph.D. (Neuroscience) University of Michigan
B.S. (Neuroscience), B.A. (English), University of Rochester

Research Interests

Research in my lab centers on the transcriptional cofactor Rbpsuh, which plays multiple and distinct roles in neural progenitor differentiation during different developmental stages of the nervous system. One key regulator of Rbpsuh is the Notch cell signaling pathway. However, Rbpsuh has also been shown to have Notch-independent effects as well. Previously, we've deleted the gene for Rbpsuh in neural stem cells of the developing mouse embryo and shown that Rbpsuh was necessary for the formation of astrocytes, a kind of glia, and suppressed the formation of oligodendrocytes, another kind of glia. We want to find out what acts downstream of Rbpsuh and how it exerts its effect.

An undergraduate researcher in my lab has identified novel candidate genes NfIa and Sox9, which have binding sites for Rbpsuh in their promoter regions. These genes had been shown by other labs to be necessary for stem cells to differentiate into astrocytes. Our current goal is to demonstrate that Notch or RBP-J directly binds to promoter region of these genes. The promoter binding sites on NfIa and Sox9 are unique because they have features that suggest that Rbpsuh may be able to drive gene transcription in a Notch-independent fashion.

To investigate the role of Notch, Rbpsuh and another putative co-factors that could regulate Rbpsuh on neural progenitor differentiation, another student in my lab has established an in ovo electroporation protocol and is overexpressing these genes in the developing neural tube. Now the student is asking if neural progenitors are driven to express NfIa in the presence of Notch signaling and what role, if any, these putative co-factors have on neural stem cell differentiation.

By addressing these questions, student researchers will explore multiple fields, including neuroanatomy and stem cell biology. They will be able to explore how stem cells function in vivo using many of the tools that are broadly used in developmental, cellular and gene assays, PCR, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization. The techniques are tractable and the answers to the questions are interesting and publishable.

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