Heithem El-Hodiri, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics and Nationwide Children's Research Institute
700 Children's Drive, W431
Areas of Expertise
- Developmental Neuroscience and Genetics
- PhD: University of Kansas
Current Research Description
One project involves the mechanisms by which gene expression is activated during the early development of the anterior neural plate. The anterior neural plate eventually develops into the forebrain and the neural component of the sense organs. Several genes are initially expressed in the anterior neural plate and then are involved in the development of diverse organs of the head, such as the forebrain, anterior pituitary, and neural retina. We are characterizing and comparing the promoters of known anterior neural plate genes in order to identify common elements involved in regulation of their expression during early development.
We are also interested in identifying and characterizing additional genes involved in the early development of the anterior neural plate. We are also studying the genetics of neural retina development, focusing on the genetics of the essential retinal homeobox gene, Rx. We are interested in the Rx genetic pathway, including identifying genes that are involved in activation of proper spatial and temporal Rx expression. These genes should also play important roles in eye development.