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Phil Gage

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Primary Appointment: Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Other PIBS Depts.: Cell and Developmental Biology
PubMed Name: gage pj
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 DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH
  Research in our laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which cell signaling pathways and transcriptional networks regulate organogenesis and cell fate determination during development. We use the mouse eye as our model system because, unlike many other organs, it affords us the opportunity to address fundamental questions in a context where viability of the animal is not an issue. However, because these mechanisms are highly conserved, the lessons learned through our approach will likely be applicable to understanding the development and function of many organs and tissues. In our work, we utilize a combinatorial approach including transgenic and gene targeted mice, cell culture, functional genomics, and biochemistry. We have recently discovered an auto-regulatory loop including a homeodomain transcription factor (PITX2) and canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling that is essential for normal eye development and function. Disruption of this loop likely leads to congenital eye defects and glaucoma in humans. We are currently working to further understand this auto-regulatory loop and the role(s) of canonical Wnt signaling in eye development and function. In addition, we are pursuing additional key transcriptional targets of PITX2 during eye development.