Northwestern University

Tue 3:30 PM

Distinguished Lectures in Life Sciences: Dr. Renee A. Reijo Pera presents, "Human embryonic development and cell fate determination"

When: Tuesday, February 19, 2019
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM  

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, Hughes, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Monica Laronda  

Group: Center for Reproductive Science Events

Category: Academic


The Driskill Graduate Program and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine presents:

Distinguished Lectures in Life Sciences

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

3:30 PM

Hughes Auditorium

Lurie Building 1st Floor


Renee A. Reijo Pera, PhD

Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Montana State University 


“Human embryonic development and cell fate determination”

In classic experiments, Aristotle (384-322 BC) dissected bird eggs over the course of their development and concluded: “Generation from the egg proceeds in an identical manner with all birds, but the full periods from conception to birth differ, as has been said. With the common hen after three days and three nights there is the first indication of the embryo; with larger birds the interval being longer, with smaller birds shorter.” Aristotle then went on to describe timing of appearance of various organ systems and concluded that when the egg is 10 days old, all of “its parts are distinctly visible.” Remarkably, Aristotle posited that the core programs of development might be conserved across many species including humans though timing differs. Since these early experiments, it has become clear that timing matters. If two cells pass each other by, in time or space, the opportunity to form connections and to impact fate of a neighboring cell during development, may be forever lost. Here, we seek to identify and characterize the molecular timers that direct humanspecific developmental timing and compare mechanisms to other species. Our hypothesis is that the unique timing of human development is a product of human-specific retroviral-derived genes that act as developmental timers. Moreover, we hypothesize that disturbances in timing, linked to these genes, manifest in phenotypic variation associated with common human characteristics and disease. We suggest that other mammalian species possess their own species-specific modulators of timing. I will present data on human embryo development, identification of unique non-coding genes that may modulate timing, establishment of unique transcriptional networks in the embryo and their function at the molecular level.

Hosted by Monica Laronda, PhD Pediatrics



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