Basic/Translational Science Research

Cray Laboratory

Birth Defects

Work focuses on understanding of potential teratogenic exposures and its effects on development. We utilize preclinical models to understand the pharmacological effects of prenatal exposures to excess thyroid hormones, drugs to treat depression, and nicotine. 

Bone Wound Healing

Work focuses on compromised bone wound healing and combinatory therapies and devices to overcome complicated bone healing. We utilize preclinical models to interrogate potential therapies to aid in healing and agents that disrupt healing.

Recent Student Research

Durham EmilyRecent Cray Laboratory graduate and NIH/NIDCR F31 recipient Dr. Emily Durham conducted doctoral dissertation research focused on the impact of pharmacological teratogens on stem cells resident to the craniofacial skeleton. Her important work characterized the craniofacial sutures as a novel stem cell niche, demonstrated susceptibility of tis cell population to altered function after teratogen exposures, and suggests as a result of this interaction altered growth can occur during development. Data emanating from this project have been published in several relevant journals and Dr. Durham is currently a Post-Doctoral Scholar at Penn State University.

McHugh Laboratory

Research efforts in the McHugh lab focus on the normal development and pathogenesis of the urinary tract. Studies focus on congenital defects in bladder development and the resulting sequelae associated with obstructive nephropathy and chronic kidney disease (CKD). We have identified a highly unique mouse model known as the megabladder (mgb) mouse that represents the first small animal model of congenital obstructive nephropathy. Recent work has identified the mgb mouse as a genetic model of human congenital megabladder resulting from monoallelic loss-of-function variants in myocardin expression. Children born with this condition develop megabladder (megacystis) and often have associated heart defects.

Studies in Dr. McHugh’s lab have also characterized the complex phenotype associated with Uroplakin1b knockout mice. These animals show altered urothelial morphology and UTI susceptibility as well as duplicated urinary tracts and the development of age-dependent spontaneous hydronephrosis. This work has identified the urothelium as a key player in kidney pathogenesis and development.

Recent Student Research

MosleyDr. Claudia Mosley, a recent graduate of Dr. McHugh’s lab, studied the changes in urothelial development and differentiation within the kidney in response to acute renal injury. Her work identified distinct changes in two specific urothelial cell types - Krt5 and Upk3a cells. Determination of these changes in utero may allow early detection of congenital obstruction permitting better diagnosis, intervention and treatment of chronic kidney disease.

Anatomy Education Research

Harmon, Kalmar, Mosley, Quinn and Stover Laboratories

Educational research within the Division of Anatomy focuses on the pursuit of knowledge and content development in the area of anatomical sciences.  The wide spectrum of educational scholarship our faculty are focused on include: anatomical self-efficacy, curricular reform and innovation, and interprofessional education.

Recent Student Research

Ashley SimonsDr. Ashley Simmons is a recent graduate who examined gross anatomy education and knowledge in a population of specialty and non-specialty physical therapists. Her studies concluded that physical therapists who specialized show a greater amount of anatomy knowledge than physical therapists who are not specialized, individual specialty areas show diverse anatomy knowledge and that curricula instructional methods in physical therapy school predict anatomic knowledge. Interestingly, the number of years in practice and continuing education courses did predict anatomy knowledge in this study.