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Marin Science Semminar: Making Faces: Developmental Mechanisms of Craniofacial Evolution


 “Making Faces: Developmental Mechanisms of Craniofacial Evolution” Dr. Schneider will overview experiments in his laboratory that have revealed molecular and cellular processes involved in facial patterning. He will describe how his studies to understand the basis for skull shape in breeds of dogs led him to create a cell transplant system whereby duck embryos develop with quail beaks. He will bring an assortment of skulls.Get the flyer here. (November 15, 2017; Previously: 9/10/14, 10/2011, 10/2009)

To study skeletal patterning, Dr. Schneider designed an avian transplantation system using quail and duck embryos, which differ considerably in their growth rates and anatomies. The experimental approach is simple: cells are exchanged between quail and duck embryos. This causes faster developing quail cells and relatively slower maturing duck cells to interact with one another continuously from the moment they first meet. Also, chimeras are challenged to deal with species-specific differences in size and shape. By looking for donor-induced changes to the formation of bone, cartilage, and other tissues, Dr. Schneider’s lab has been able to identify mechanisms that pattern the skeleton, and elucidate the role of development in evolution. A long-term goal of his research is to build a foundation for molecular-based therapies that can induce repair and regeneration of cartilages and bones affected by congenital defects, disease, and injury.

Dr. Schneider graduated from Hampshire College in 1991. As an undergraduate, he published his first paper, which was on skull evolution in domestic dogs, following an internship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. He received his Master's Degree in 1994 and his PhD in 1998 from Duke University. He also studied embryology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, and at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, NY. For his Postdoctoral work at the UCSF, Dr. Schenider investigated molecular mechanisms that pattern the craniofacial skeleton. In 2001, he joined the faculty of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF.