Marianne Bronner

Marianne Bronner, Ph.D.

Research Program Award (R35) 2019
Photo of Marianne Bronner, Ph.D. FY19 Research Program Award (R35) recipient

In vertebrate embryos, the neural crest gives rise to the sensory, autonomic and enteric nervous system, craniofacial skeleton and melanocytes of the skin. The Bronner lab identified a “cranial-specific” neural crest transcriptional subcircuit in vertebrates that imbues the unique ability, absent from trunk neural crest, to form craniofacial cartilage that is critical for jaw formation. As a result, the Bronner lab will continue this line of research examining whether homologous genes are expressed in the cranial premigratory neural crest of lamprey, a jawless basal vertebrate. Since neural crest cells are involved in a variety of birth defects such as Hirschsprung's disease, cleft palate and various types of cancers, like neuroblastoma, understanding neural crest cell diversification across vertebrates can shed light on processes that cause normal cells to become diseased.