Faculty/Staff Directory

Bruce Ostrow

Photo of Bruce Ostrow



Office Address
3307 Kindschi Hall of Science

Office Phone

Areas of Expertise
Animal Developmental Biology

Courses Taught at GVSU

BIO 120  General Biology I with Lab
BIO 121  General Biology II
BIO 232 Natural History of Invertebrates
BIO 355  Human Genetics
BIO 375 Genetics
BIO 376 Genetics Lab
BIO 416 Advanced Genetics Lab
BIO 422  Embryology with Lab
CMB 405  Cell and Molecular Biology
CMB 406  Cell and Molecular Biology Lab
CMB 495 Perspectives and Issues in CMB
CMB 620 Cell and Tissue Culture

Research Interests

The major focus of my research is the genetic control of morphogenesis - how genes control shape. One can study this huge question of biology in many ways using diverse model systems and exploratory techniques. I generally use molecular genetic techniques.

In 2014, I initiated an investigation into the development of the gliding membrane (patagium) in the sugar glider, Petaurus breviceps. Because they are marsupials, the majority of sugar glider development happens in the pouch and thus I can view the joeys as they develop a patagium without harming the mother. I hope to describe the formation of the patagium in P. breviceps and identify genes involved in its development. These genes are likely to be conserved in other species that possess a patagium so that once identified in sugar gliders, I can test expression of these genes in other gliding species. Other groups that have patagia are bats, flying squirrels, colugos, and flying lizards, and I hypothesize that these diverse organisms use the same conserved genes to form their own patagia. This knowledge will inform us about evolution of a unique structure that sets gliding species apart from other vertebrates.


Ph.D. in Cell, Molecular, and Structural Biology; Northwestern University, 1993.
B.A. in Marine Biology; Boston University, 1985.


Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, 1994-1996.

Select Publications

Sass, G.L., and Ostrow, B.D.  2014. Disruption of the protein kinase N gene of Drosophila melanogaster results in the recessive delorean allele (pkndln) with a negative impact on wing morphogenesis. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 4(4): 643-656.

Ostrow, B.D., and Strickler, T.L.  2013. Post-plastination dissection of a bowfin fish (Amia calva) plastinate exposes additional structures and improves specimen utility. The Journal of Plastination 25(2): 9-12.

Ostrow, B.D. 2006. Bald Eagle kills Crow chasing a Hawk. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 118:569-570.

Recent Presentations

Byl, C., Forton, K, and Ostrow, B. 2017 Growth and developmental timeline of the patagium in Petaurus breviceps. West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Research Conference.

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