‌Kathryn Tosney

215 Cox Science Center
1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124
E-mail: ktosney@miami.edu
Office: (305) 284-3988
Fax: (305) 284-3039

Lab website


  • Professor, Biology Department, The University of Miami at Coral Gables, 2006-present
  • Director, UGalapagosFall study abroad program
    Director, SEEDS ("a SEED for Success”, a UM-wide program)
  • Chair, Biology Department, The University of Miami at Coral Gables, 2006-2014
  • NIH panels, 1982-1998; NSF Minority Postdoc panel, 2005-2007
  • FASEB Finance Committee, 2004-2007; 2008-present
  • Board of Directors, Society for Developmental Biology, 1996-2002; Treasurer, 1999-2002
  • Director and editor, Society for Developmental Biology Educational Website, 2004-2007
  • Associate Editor, The Journal of Morphology, 1985-1990; Cooperating Editor, Cell & Tissue Research, 2000-2003 Associate Editor, Experimental Neurology, 1997-2002; Editorial Board, Developmental Dynamics, 2003 to present
  • Faculty, Departments of Biology and of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, The University of Michigan1984-2005; Group Leader, Developmental Biology and Genetics Group, 1986-1989, 1992-1993
  • Postdoctoral Fellow with L.T. Landmesser, Yale University and The University of Connecticut, 1980-1982


  • Gayle Morris Sweetland Fellow, The University of Michigan, 1999
  • Faculty Recognition Award; College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, The University of Michigan, 1994
  • Excellence in Education Awards; College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, The University of Michigan, 1992, 1993, 1995
  • The University of Michigan Faculty Teaching Award, 1991
  • Francis Lou Kallman Award for Graduate Excellence, Stanford University, 1979
  • NSF Predoctoral Fellowship, 1975-1978


  • NIH, ARRA Grant "Construction of a Neuroscience Health Annex:, 2011-2014, (Co-author)
  • NIH, IMSD Program, 2012-2017 (Dual-PI)
  • NSF ADVANCE: SEEDS at the University of Miami, 2008-2013 (PI)
  • Grant to purchase a Li-Cor DNA sequencer, University of Miami, 2006
  • NSF grant, Regulation of functionally-distinct adhesions and neuronal motility, 2005-2010
  • NIH grant, Mechanisms of Motor Axon Pathfinding, Co-PI; Catherine Krull, PI, 2005-2010
  • Postdoctoral grant, Organogenesis Center: Regulation of ephrin-A5 on motor axons, Simon Lunn, PI, Mentors: Catherine Krull and Kathryn Tosney
  • NSF ADVANCE Departmental transformation grants, PI, 2000-2003 PI, 2003-2004
  • NSF grant #0212326, REU, 2002-2005
  • NSF grant #0212326, Focal Rings and Filopodial Emergence in Neuronal Growth Cones 2002-2005
  • UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) University of Michigan, 2002
  • OVPR/LSA research support grant, 2002
  • NIH grant NS21308, Development of Neuronal Specificity 1985-1988
  • NIH grant HD32456, Control of Axial Muscle Development 1994-2000
  • NIH grant NS27634, Guidance of Motoneuron Growth Cones1988-1992
  • NIH, NRSA, Co-PI, Kevin Hotary, 1993-1995
  • OVPR/LSA equipment grant for electron microscope for The Biology Department, 1995,
  • NSF Training Grant, Development of the Nervous System, PI: B. Oakley, Co-PIs R. Hume, P. Raymond, K. Tosney 1990-1995; 1995-2000
  • Rackham Research Partnerships Grant, The University of Michigan, Co-PI R.A. Oakley,1990-1991
  • NIH Equipment Grant, Philips CM 10/PC Electron Microscope with Cryostage. PI: Bruce Carlson. Co-Investigators, R. Altschuler, S. Ernst, J. Faulkner, K. O'Shea, P. Raymond, K. Tosney, M. Welsh., 1990.
  • NIH Equipment Grant, Lipchow-disc confocal microscope, 1990
  • Faculty Fund Teaching Grant, The University of Michigan, 1989
  • Rackham Grant to Augment International Academic Partnerships, The University of Michigan, 1986-1987
  • Rackham Faculty Fellowship and Grant, The University of Michigan, 1985
  • NIH National Research Award, 1983-1984
  • MDA Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1980-1982
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1980-1982 (awarded, but declined to accept)
  • NIH grant for use of high voltage electron microscope at the University of Colorado,PI, 1979
  • NSF Predoctoral Fellowship, 1975-1978


  • Developmental Biology and Neuroscience
  • Evolutionary Biology


In my lab, research projects range widely, but are centered in the field of Developmental Biology. We often use the neuron as a tool to understand the embryo and its cellular and developmental mechanisms. Some of our projects use classical techniques such as embryonic surgery to discover basic phenomena, such how cell death controls development of entire muscle groups, or how chemical cues guide migrating cells. Some use unconventional systems such as old-world chameleons to understand how development is harnessed to generate different life forms in evolution. Some combine electron microscopy and cell biology to investigate how unconventional mechanisms such as mechanical force regulate axons. Some combine molecular interventions with time lapse digital recordings in cell culture to discover mechanisms crucial to growth and guidance of neural axons. Other interdisciplinary studies examine the regulation and actions of a new cell organelle we recently discovered.


My teaching interests currently focus on 1) increasing the availability and wise use of pedagogical tools to increase creative learning, and 2) career development. Some widely adopted pedagogical tools I have developed myself, such as " The Origami Embryo" , a hands-on tool that helps students understand complex shape changes in embryos, and a book using a cross-word puzzle approach to learn terms and concepts. The goal of increasing the availability of effective methods is supported by my role as the Director of the Education site for the Society of Developmental Biology. Here at UM, I teach "Pedagogy and Course Design," which has the immediately practical goal of revising our introductory Biology laboratories. For career development issues, I have long taught a graduate course in presentation and survival techniques, which at the University of Miami has transmuted into "Professional Writing and Grantsmanship," a course in which each student submits at least one grant for outside funding. Nationally, I give talks on "Career Survival in Academia," and run workshops on how to present effective posters (see tutorial and companion site). Two posters about creating good posters are displayed in the Cox Science Centernear the Biology office.


  • Linda White,  Jeffery Prince , Kathryn Tosney  (2014) Strategies to Efficiently Locate Cultured Cells of Interest on Transmission Electron Microscopy Grids. Microscopy Today, in press
  • Tosney, K. W. , A. Wagnitz, D. Dehnbostel, and K. J. Balazovich (2010). Evidence that growth cones exert mechanical force as they exit the spinal cord. Dev. Dynamics, In press with revision.
  • Hess, G., K. Tosney, L. Liegel (2009) "Creating Effective Poster Presentations: AMEE Guide no. 40."Medical Teacher Apr 31 (4):319-2
  • Krull, C. and K. Tosney (2008). Embryo Slices and Strips: Guidance and Adhesion Assays in the Avian Embryo. In Methods in Cell Biology: New Methods in Avian Embryology. Vol 87. ed.: M. Bronner-Fraser, pp. 99-115
  • Tosney, K.W. (2005). Dr. Judith Swan: From Scientist to Writing Guru. Sweetland 8: 7-9
  • Chapman, S., B. Henken, D. Raible and K. Tosney (2004). The Neural Crest as a way of Knowing: New Perspectives on Lineage and Morphogenesis. Dev. Dynamics. 229: 140-142


  • Hess, G., K. Tosney, L. Liegel (2009) Creating Effective Poster Presentations Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Education Series, Scotland, UK, book