Samantha J. Butler
Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: (213) 821-1161
- B.A: Cambridge University (1990)
- Ph.D: Princeton University (1996)
- Postdoctoral Fellow: Columbia University (1997-2003)
- Characterization of the signaling pathway(s) that mediates the diverse activities of the BMPs
- Intrinsic regulation of the rate at which axons extend during development
- Integration of sequential guidance cues by growth cones
- Use of embryonic stem cells to re-establish dorsal neurons in the spinal cord
Research OverviewThe extraordinarily diverse functions of the nervous system, from cognition to movement, are possible because neurons are assembled into precisely ordered networks that permit neurons to rapidly and accurately communicate with their synaptic targets. My research aim is to understand the mechanisms that establish these neuronal networks during development with the long-term goal of determining how this process may be co-opted to regenerate damaged circuits.
My major scientific contributions have been to identify that morphogens can act as axon guidance signals and determine how neurons translate morphogens, specifically the BMP family of growth factors, over time to mediate strikingly different processes in the generation of neural circuits. During the course of this work, we have identified a key mechanism by which the rate of axon outgrowth is controlled during development; my laboratory is now working to determine how this mechanism can be harnessed to accelerate axon growth in a regenerative context.
Gaber, Z.B., Butler, S.J. and B.G. Novitch (2013) PLZF regulates Fibroblast Growth Factor responsiveness and maintenance of neural progenitors. in revision
Kandyba, E., Hazen, V. M., Kobielak, A., Butler, S.J. and K. Kobielak (2013) Canonical BMP signaling via Smad1&5, but not Smad8, promotes establishment of stem cell quiescence by transforming the premature hair follicle characteristic during morphogenesis towards the postnatal state. in revision
Kong, J.H., Butler, S.J. and B.G. Novitch (2013) My brain told me to do it. Dev Cell 25:436-438
Phan, K.D. and S.J. Butler (2013). Chicken dI1 (commissural) axons show bilateral independence crossing the floor plate. PLoS One, 8: e62977.
Yamauchi, K., Varadarajan, S. G., Li, J. and S.J. Butler (2013) Type Ib BMP receptors mediate the rate of commissural axon extension through inhibition of cofilin activity. Development 140:333-342
Hazen V.M., Andrews, M. G., Umansm L., Crenshaw, E.B., Zwijsen, A., and S.J. Butler (2012) BMP receptor-activated Smads confer diverse functions during the development of the dorsal spinal cord. Dev Biology 367: 216-227
Hazen V.M., Phan K.D., Hudiburgh S., and S.J. Butler (2011) Inhibitory Smads differentially regulate cell fate specification and axon dynamics in the dorsal spinal cord. Dev Biology 336: 566-575
Phan K.D., Croteau L-P., Kam, J.W.K., Kania A., Cloutier, J-F. and S.J. Butler (2011) Neogenin may functionally substitute for Dcc in chicken. PLoS One 6: e22072
Phan, K.D., Hazen V.M., Frendo M., Jia Z. and Butler S.J. (2010) The BMP roof plate chemorepellent regulates the rate of commissural axonal growth. J Neuroscience 30:15430-40.
Hazen, V.M., Phan, K., Yamauchi, K., and Butler S.J. (2010) Assaying the ability of diffusible signaling molecules to reorient embryonic spinal commissural axons. J Vis Exp 37:185 -PubMed
Novitch, B.G., and Butler, S.J. (2009). Reducing the mystery of neuronal differentiation. Cell 138: 1062-1064 -PubMed
Yamauchi, K., Phan, K. and S.J. Butler (2008) BMP type I receptors have distinct activities mediating cell fate and axon guidance decisions. Development 135: 1119-1128. -PubMed
Butler, S.J. and G. Tear (2007) Getting axons onto the right path: the role of transcription factors in axon guidance. Development 134: 439-48. -PubMed