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Dr. Michael J. Layden

Our lab has two interests. One focus is to better understand neurogenesis during development and regeneration in the cnidarian sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. We have a current working model that describes the molecular program of NvashA dependent neural development at embryonic and larval stages. The current efforts in the lab center around improving the resolution of this model, while simultaneously testing if each component of developmental neurogenesis is required during regenerative neurogenesis and if they function in a similar manner. Additionally, we are interested in the evolution of nervous systems. The phylogenetic position of Nematostella helps us to reconstruct the ancestral neurogenic program in the last common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. We then use that data to better inform models about the origin and evolution of complex nervous systems present in bilaterians. 

Click here to learn about Dr. Layden's research in the Fall 2015 issue of Acumen, a publication of Lehigh University's College of Arts and Sciences.

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