Yevgenya Grinblat

Yevgenya Grinblat
Associate Professor, Departments of Zoology & Neuroscience
(608) 265-3219


Ph.D. Harvard University

Lab Website:

Research Focus:

Genetic Mechanisms of Patterning and Morphogenesis in the Vertebrate Brain

Research Strength:

Development, Plasticity, and Repair

Research Description:

We are working to understand how the staggering complexity of the vertebrate brain is formed during embryogenesis by identifying genetic interactions that govern the early steps of brain development. Our studies focus on the roles of the Zic gene family of zinc finger transcription factors during vertebrate brain development. In humans, ZICs are critical for normal brain development and mutations in Zics cause major birth defects: holoprosencephaly and neural tube closure defects. In spite of their obvious importance, the mechanism of Zic function is poorly understood. We use a model organism, the zebrafish Danio rerio, for our studies because zebrafish embryos are more accessible to experimentation than mammalian embryos and offer us a variety of powerful experimental techniques. Using both in vitro (molecular cloning) and in vivo methods, such as micro-dissection, transgenesis and mutagenesis, we are working to understand (1) how zic genes function and (2) how their precise patterns of expression are controlled during early brain formation. Ultimately, this work will help us understand the normal functions of Zic genes, and the manner in which their failure to function contributes to human developmental abnormalities.


Please see PubMed for most recent publications