Current Research

Our research is focused on understanding secondary (dorsal-ventral) axis specification and skeletal patterning in the sea urchin. We are interested in producing a systems-level description for these processes. Sea urchin, a non-chordate deuterostome, is an ideal model organism for systems-level developmental studies. Genomic analysis has revealed that sea urchins share the diversity of signaling and transcriptional molecules with vertebrates, including humans, but lack the complexity associated with a duplicated genome. Further, sea urchin larvae are morphologically quite simple, being composed of approximately 15 cell types, and thus are accessible to detailed analysis of cell specification and cell-cell communication mechanisms. Finally, the use of gene regulatory networks to model developmental processes was pioneered in urchin, providing a strong precedent for this work. The lab is focused primarily on two projects: understanding how the dorsal-ventral axis is specified, and how the larval skeleton is patterned. We are pursuing these projects through a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, computational modeling, and systems biology approaches.

Selected Publications

  • Piacentino ML, Chung O, Ramachandran J, Zuch DT, Yu J, Conaway EA, Reyna AE, and CA Bradham. 2016. Zygotic LvBMP5-8 is required for skeletal patterning and for left–right but not dorsal–ventral specification in the sea urchin embryo. Developmental Biology 412:44-56
  • Piacentino M, Zuch D, Fishman J, Rose S, Speranza E, Li C, Yu J, Chung O, Ramchandran J, Ferrell P, Patel V, Reyna A, Hammeduddin H, Chaves J, Hewitt F, Bardot E, Lee D, Core AB, Hogan JD, Keenan J, Luo L, Coulomb-Huntington J, Blute T, Olenik E, Ibn-Salem J, Poustka AJ and CA Bradham. 2016. RNA-Seq identifies sulfated proteogylcans as a skeletal patterning cue in sea urchin embryos. Development 143:703-714
  • Schatzberg D, Lawton M, Hadyniak S, Ross EJ, Carney T, Beane WS, Levin M, and CA Bradham. 2015. H+/K+ ATPase activity is required for PMC differentiation and skeletogenesis in sea urchin embryos. Developmental Biology 406:259
  • van Heijster P, Kaper TJ, and CA Bradham. 2015. A note on a reaction-diffusion model describing the bone morphogen protein gradient in Drosophila embryonic patterning. Advanced Studies in Pure Mathematics (in press)
  • Piacentino ML, Ramachandran J, and CA Bradham. 2015. Late Alk4/5/7 signaling is required for anterior skeletal patterning in sea urchin embryos. Development 142:943
  • van Heijster P, Hardway H, Kaper TJ, CA Bradham. 2014. A computational model for BMP movement in sea urchin embryos. Journal of Theoretical Biology 363:277
  • Wolenski FS, Bradham CA, Finnerty JR, and TD Gilmore. 2012. NF-kappaB is required for cnidocyte development in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. Developmental Biology 373: 205
  • Core AB, Reyna AE, Conaway EA, C Bradham. 2012. Pantropic retroviruses as a transduction tool for sea urchin embryos. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109:5334
  • Bradham CA, CM Oikonomu, A Kuhn*, AB Core, J Modell, DR McClay, and A Poustka. 2009. Chordin is required for neural but not axial development in sea urchin embryos. Developmental Biology 328: 221-233

Courses Taught:

  • BI 410/610 Cellular Aspects of Development and Differentiation
  • BI 735 Advanced Cell Biology

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