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Research Interest

I am interested in understanding the mechanisms that regulate nervous system development in the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, and how these mechanisms differ from those utilized during regeneration. Specifically, I am interested in the role of RTK/MapK signaling in driving neurogenesis, and I am currently dissecting out the roles of upstream and downstream players in several potential neurogenic pathways. I am also interested in the understanding what controls body scaling in Nematostella.


Ph.D., Molecular and Developmental Biology, University of Cincinnati

B.S., Biology, Susquehanna University

About Me

When I am not in the lab I like to go on hikes with my husband, son and dog. I enjoy like cycling, cooking new recipes, drinking tea, and knitting. 


* denotes Lehigh undergrad student

Havrilak JA, Al-Shaer L, *Baban N, *Akinci N, Layden MJ. (2021) Characterization of the dynamics and variability of neuronal subtype responses during growth, degrowth, and regeneration of Nematostella vectensis. BMC Biology.

doi: 10.1186/s12915-021-01038-9

Havrilak JA, Layden MJ. (2020) Reverse Genetic Approaches to Investigate the Neurobiology of the Cnidarian Sea Anemone Nematostella vectensis. In: Sprecher S. (eds) Brain Development. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 2047. Humana, New York, NY. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9732-9_2

Havrilak JA, Faltine-Gonzalez D, Wen Y, *Fodera D, Simpson AC, Magie CR, Layden MJ. (2017) Characterization of NvLWamide-like neurons reveals stereotypy in Nematostella nerve net development. Developmental Biology.

doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.08.028

Havrilak JA, Melton KR, Shannon JM. (2017) Endothelial cells are not required for specification of respiratory progenitors.  Developmental Biology.  doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.05.003

Layden MJ, Johnston H, Amiel AR, Havrilak J, Steinworth B, Chock T, Röttinger E, Martindale MQ. (2016) MAPK signaling is necessary for neurogenesis in Nematostella vectensis. BMC Biology. doi: 10.1186/s12915-016-0282-1

Havrilak JA, Shannon JM. ( 2015) Branching of lung epithelium in vitro occurs in the absence of endothelial cells. Developmental Dynamics. 244(4):55363.  doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24251

Havrilak JA and Shannon JM.  (2015) Lung Development.  eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester. doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0003307.pub3

Havrilak JA, Shimmel KM, Rypstra AL, Persons MH. (2015) Are you paying attention? Female wolf spiders increase dragline silk advertisements when males do not court. Ethology. 121: 345-352. doi: 10.1111/eth.12340

Ren X, Ustiyan V, Pradhan A, Cai Y, Havrilak JA, Bolte CS, Shannon JM, Kalin TV, Kalinichenko VV. (2014) FOXF1 transcription factor is required for formation of embryonic vasculature by regulating VEGF signaling in endothelial cells. Circulation Research. 115(8):709-20. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.304382

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Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.

Jamie Havrilak

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