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Constance L. Cepko, PhD

Bullard Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Contact Info

Constance Cepko
Harvard Medical School
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA, 02115
Mailstop: NRB 360
Phone: 617-432-7618
Fax: 617-432-7595


Kim Burman
Administrative Assistant
Harvard Medical School
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA, 02115
Phone: 617-432-7618
Fax: 617-432-7595

DF/HCC Program Affiliation

Cancer Cell Biology

Research Abstract

We are interested in the mechanisms that direct development of the central nervous system (CNS) of vertebrates. Through lineage studies, we found that CNS progenitors generally are multipotent, with some exhibiting this even in their last cell division. As lineage alone does not appear to direct choice of cell fate of CNS cells, other signals are involved. We have chosen to focus on the signals in the vertebrate retina, a relatively simple and well-characterized area of the CNS. In vitro culture systems that mimic retinal development have been developed that allow study of the mitotic cycle, which is most likely intimately involved with cell fate decisions, as well as commitment and differentiation of retinal cells. These culture systems are being used to identify relevant extrinsic cues. In parallel, we are looking for intrinsic regulators. A recent approach is to use microarrays examine gene expression in single retinal progenitor cells and differentiating retinal cells. As well, we are cataloguing gene expression in all types of mature retinal neurons to enable the generation of markers for these cells and electrophysiological analysis in collaboration with other laboratories.


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