233 Cox Science Center
1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124
- (305) 284-6881
- (305) 284-3039
- (305) 284-3881
Education and Professional Experience
- Assistant Professor, 2008-present, Biology Department, The University of Miami
- Research Professional, 2005-2007, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
- Postdoctoral Scholar, 2003-2005, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
- Postdoctoral Fellow, 2001-2003, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
- Visiting Research Fellow, 2000-2001, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
- Embryology Fellow, 2000, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA
- Ph.D. with Honors, 2000, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
- M. Phil., 1996, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
- M.S., 1995, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
- B.S. with Distinction, 1994, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Grants and Awards
- Best Postdoctoral Presentation, Society for Developmental Biology 45th Midwest Regional Meeting, 2005
- Gabino Barreda Medal to best undergraduate student of the class of 1994, National Autonomous University of Mexico, 1994
- Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, 2000-2003
- Embryology Fellowship, Marine Biological Laboratory, 2000
- Development Traveling Fellowship, The Company of Biologists, Ltd., 1998
- Predoctoral Research Fellowship, National Autonomous University of Mexico, 1994-1998
Areas of Focus
- Development and Neuroscience
My group is interested in how two fundamental developmental processes, segmentation and patterning, are regulated and coordinated during vertebrate embryogenesis to generate morphological complexity. While segmentation subdivides the embryonic body plan into an array of morphologically similar units or segments, patterning processes assign different positional identities to such units based on their anterior-posterior position along the main body axis of the embryo. What are the mechanisms that coordinate segmentation and patterning within and between different tissues such as the nervous system and mesoderm (muscle and bone forming tissue)? What are the conserved and divergent aspects of this machinery that drive variation in segment number and/or identity between vertebrates?
We are addressing these questions using the chicken and zebrafish embryos as model organisms. This allows us to combine classic embryological techniques with powerful molecular and genetic approaches. By using two evolutionarily distant organisms, we expect not only to elucidate the core molecular processes underlying segmentation and patterning of the nervous system and mesoderm, but also the source of diversity in vertebrate segment number and form. Furthermore, we expect this research to have important medical implications as it directly addresses developmental processes underlying common birth defects such as open neural tube or congenital vertebral malsegmentation.
I believe that learning is a twofold process that consists of (1) the acquisition of new information and (2) its synthesis, through critical thinking, into new models and ideas. Effective learning, therefore, results from the correct balance between these two processes. To achieve this goal, I make use of a variety of didactic approaches such as lecturing, small and large group discussion and hands-on exercises that encourage student to become active participants in the learning process. As a vertebrate developmental biologist, I enjoy sharing with students the amazing process that is the successful formation of an organism from a fertilized egg. Since embryonic development relies on the proper deployment of numerous cellular and molecular processes in time and space (e.g., cell migration, cell-cell communication, spatial and temporal control of transcription, etc.), I like to use developmental biology as a platform to teach cell and molecular biology. Furthermore, the field of developmental biology has a long history of cleverly designed experiments, which I like to make frequent use of, not only to illustrate biological principles, but also to drive problem-solving inquiry and show students how science "works".
- *Skromne, I., Thorsen, D., Hale, M., Prince, V. E. and Ho, R. K. (2007) Repression of the hindbrain developmental program by Cdx factors is required for the specification of the vertebrate spinal cord.Development 134, 2147-2158.
- *Bertocchini, F., Skromne, I. and Stern, C. D. (2004) Determination of embryonic polarity in a regulative system: evidence for endogenous inhibitors acting sequentially during primitive streak formation in the chick embryo. Development 131, 3381-3390.
- Skromne, I. and Stern, C. D. (2002) A hierarchy of gene expression accompanying induction of the primitive streak by Vg1 in the chick embryo. Mech Dev. 114, 115-118.
- *Skromne, I. and Stern, C. D. (2001) Interactions between Wnt and Vg1 signalling pathways initiate primitive streak formation in the chick embryo. Development 128, 2915-2927.
- Foley, A. C., Skromne, I. and Stern, C. D. (2000) Reconciling different models of forebrain induction and patterning: a dual role for the hypoblast. Development 127, 3839-3854.
- Bachvarova, R. F., Skromne, I. and Stern, C. D. (1998) Induction of primitive streak and Hensen’s node by the posterior marginal zone in the early chick embryo. Development 125, 3521-3534.