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Jeremy Nathans, MD, PhD

Department Affiliations Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience and Ophthalmology
Rank Professor
Office Phone 410-955-4679
Lab Phone
SOM Address 805 Preclinical Teaching Building


Research Interests

The Nathans laboratory is interested in the physiology and pathophysiology of the mammalian visual system, and in particular the retina, the light absorbing sheet of cells that lines the back of the eye. The general approach is to use the tools of molecular genetics to identify and study genes involved in retinal development, function, and disease. Over the past 25 years we have studied the evolution of vertebrate color vision, the cell biology of rod and cone photoreceptors, the molecular pathophysiology of retinitis pigmentosa and inherited macular degenerations, and transcriptional control of gene expression in retinal development. A second interest is in elucidating the mechanisms that lead to complex pattern formation during animal development and, in particular, the role in this process of a family of cell-surface receptors named “Frizzled”. We have identified and are now studying the role of these receptors in axon guidance, vascular development, and hair orientation.


Reserach Profile

  • Cahill, H., Rattner, A., and Nathans, J. (2011) Preclinical assessment of central nervous system drug action using eye movements in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation 121: 3528-3541.
  • Wang, Y., Rattner, A., Zhou, Y., Williams, J., Smallwood, P.M., and Nathans, J. (2012) Norrin/Frizzled4 signaling in retinal vascular development and blood brain barrier plasticity. Cell 151: 1332-1344.
  • Wu, H., Williams, J., and Nathans, J. (2012) Morphologic diversity of cutaneous sensory afferents revealed by genetically directed sparse labeling. eLife 1: e00181.
  • Hua, Z.L., Smallwood, P.M., and Nathans, J. (2013) Frizzled3 controls axonal development in distinct populations of cranial and spinal motor neurons. eLife 2: e01482.
  • Chang, H., and Nathans, J. (2013) Responses of hair follicle-associated structures to loss of planar cell polarity signaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, E908-E917.
  • Rattner, A., Yu, H. Williams, J., Smallwood, P.M., and Nathans, J. (2013) Endothelin2 signaling in the neural retina promotes the endothelial tip cell state and inhibits angiogenesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110: E3830-E3839.
  • Wu, H., Luo, J, Yu, H., Rattner, A., Mo, A., Smallwood, P.M., Erlanger, B., Wheelan, S.J., and Nathans, J. (2014) Cellular resolution maps of X-chromosome inactivation: implications for neural development, function, and disease. Neuron 81: 103-119.
  • Wu, H., Williams, J., and Nathans, J. (2014) Complete morphologies of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in the mouse. eLife 3:e02444.
  • Zhou, Y., Wang, Y., Tischfield, M., Williams, J., Smallwood, P.M., Rattner, A., Taketo, M.M., and Nathans, J. (2014) Canonical Wnt signaling components in vascular development and barrier formation. Journal of Clinical Investigation 124: 3825-3846.
  • Hua, Z.L., Chang, H., Wang, Y., Smallwood, P.M., and Nathans, J. (2014) Partial interchangeability of Frizzled3 and Frizzled6 in tissue polarity signaling for epithelial orientation and axon growth and guidance. Development 141: 3944-3954.
  • Zhou, Y., and Nathans, J. (2014) Gpr124 controls CNS angiogenesis and blood-brain barrier integrity by promoting ligand-specific canonical Wnt signaling. Developmental Cell 31: 248-256.
  • Mo, A., Mukamel, E.A., Davis, F.P., Luo, C., Henry, G.L., Picard, S., Urich, M.A., Nery, J.R., Sejnowski, T.J., Lister, R., Eddy, S.R., Ecker, J.R., and Nathans, J. (2015) Epigenomic Signatures of Neuronal Diversity in the Mammalian Brain. Neuron 86:1369-1384.