Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bronner, Marianne
Location California Institute of Technology
Primary Field Cellular and Developmental Biology
Secondary Field Evolutionary Biology
 Election Citation
Bronner has conducted pioneering research on neural crest development and lineage specification. She discovered that these cells are multipotent and defined signals underlying their induction and migration. She systematically exploited this knowledge to reveal direct regulatory interactions in the gene regulatory network responsible for neural crest formation and evolutionary origin.
 Research Interests
Marianne Bronner's laboratory has a long-standing interest in the central question of developmental biology: how a complex organism develops from a single cell. Her studies center on the molecular mechanisms underlying formation and evolution of the neural crest, a highly multipotent stem cell population that gives rise to melanocytes of the skin, craniofacial skeleton and peripheral ganglia. Many of these cell types are prone to metastasis in the adult, for example contributing to melanoma and neuroblastoma, and these cancers often possess transcriptional signatures similar to those of embryonic neural crest cells. A major focus is the identification of the signaling and transcriptional interactions that lead to neural crest formation both at the tissue and the molecular level. Using a multiorganismal approach, their studies have combined gain- and loss-of-function approaches with genome-wide transcriptome profiling and regulatory analysis. This has led to the discovery of a neural crest gene regulatory network that is largely conserved to the base of vertebrates. As neural crest cells are amongst the most migratory cell type in vertebrate embryo, the Bronner lab also has been interested in characterizing the role of the migratory environment in influencing pathway choice.

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