Jennifer H. Gutzman
Jennifer H. Gutzman
Assistant Professor
Cell and Molecular Biology,
Developmental Neurobiology

Post-doctoral Fellow/Associate, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 2004-2011
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Molecular and Environmental Toxicology, 2004
B.S., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Biology, 1998

Office: Lapham N515
Phone: 414-229-5408
FAX: 414-229-3926

Research Interests

Gutzman lab image
Figure 1.(A)Control embryo in the region of the midbrain-hindbrain boundary constriction (MHBC) demonstrating a normal fold in the tissue.(B) Myosin IIA/IIB loss-of-function disrupts the MHBC (arrowhead).(C, D) Live single cell resolution imaging indicates that normal cell shortening at the MHBC is disrupted with myosin loss-of-function. H, hindbrain ventricle.
My laboratory is focused on defining and analyzing the mechanisms that regulate vertebrate brain morphogenesis during development. In almost all organs, generation of three dimensional structures requires bending of an epithelial sheet. After neural tube formation and specification of different brain regions, the developing vertebrate brain bends multiple times to subdivide regions and pack itself into the skull. Embryonic brain shape is highly conserved across vertebrate species indicating the unique and essential requirement of a shape-function relationship in early brain development. This research is important because abnormal brain morphogenesis can result in a range of disorders including neural tube defects, hydrocephalus, and mental health disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Our lab applies genetic, developmental, molecular, and cell biological approaches to study brain morphogenesis in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. The challenge is to determine the mechanisms of brain morphogenesis within a live organism. Zebrafish biology provides a robust in vivo model for sophisticated and feasible developmental studies. Zebrafish have rapid development, short generation time, and transparent embryos allowing for in vivo live imaging.

Specific Areas of Interest:
  1. Determining the mechanisms for how non-muscle myosin II regulates cell shortening during the formation of the midbrain-hindbrain boundary constriction.
  2. Discovery and characterization of the role for unconventional myosins in brain morphogenesis and disease.
  3. Analysis of the role of molecular motors in neurite outgrowth during brain development.

Selected Publications

Gutzman, J.H. and Sive, H. Epithelial relaxation mediated by the myosin phosphatase regulator Mypt1 is required for brain ventricle lumen expansion and hindbrain morphogenesis. Development. 2010 Mar;137(5):795-804. **Featured Article.

Glazer AM, Wilkinson AW, Backer CB, Lapan SW, Gutzman J.H., Cheeseman IM, Reddien PW. The Zn finger protein Iguana impacts Hedgehog signaling by promoting ciliogenesis. Developmental Biology. 2010 Jan 1;337(1):148-56.

Gutzman, J.H. and Sive, H. Zebrafish brain ventricle injection. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2009 Apr 6;(26).

Lowery, L.A., DeRienzo, G., Gutzman, J.H. and Sive, H. Characterization and classification of zebrafish brain morphology mutants. Anatomical Record. 2009 Jan; 292(1):94-106.

Gutzman, J.H.*, Graeden, E.G.*, Lowery, L.A., Holley, H.S. and Sive, H. Formation of the zebrafish midbrain-hindbrain boundary constriction requires laminin-dependent basal constriction. Mechanisms of Development. 2008 Nov-Dec;125(11-12):974-83. *These authors contributed equally to this work.