Jontes_James_460x460Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience

115 Rightmire Hall
1060 Carmack Road
Columbus OH 43210
Office: 614-292-7263
Lab: 614-292-6606

Research Focus

We investigate the roles of cell-cell recognition and cell-cell adhesion in neural development.  In particular, we are interested in how members of the protocadherin family influence brain morphogenesis and the assembly of neural circuits.  Aspects of interest include the dynamics and behavior of neural progenitor cells, the modular organization of developing brain regions, axon growth and fasciculation, axon and dendrite arborization and dynamics and synaptogenesis.  Cell adhesion by protocadherins (and other molecules) is fundamentally important for each of these processes.  We are additionally interested in how the protocadherins influence the development of network activity and functional connectivity.  Unraveling the roles and mechanisms of protocadherin function will elucidate fundamental aspects of brain development, and will have important implications for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia.


We rely 2-photon laser-scanning microscopy to perform timelapse imaging in living zebrafish embryos, and quantitative image analysis.  2-photon imaging is ideally suited for long-term imaging in vivo due to reduced light scattering and phototoxicity.  We supplement our in vivo imaging with transposon-mediated BAC transgenesis and CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering.  To elucidate the intracellular mechanisms and pathways downstream of protocadherin adhesion, we also employ proteomics approaches. 

Education and Training

BA: University of California-Berkeley, Molecular Cell Biology
PhD: The Scripps Research Institute, Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry
Post-doctoral: Stanford University, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology

Jontes Lab  PubMed articles