The primary focus of the Lowery Lab research is to investigate how cytoskeletal dynamics are regulated to drive cell motility in both normal and pathological conditions. Accurate axon guidance is absolutely essential to the development and function of the nervous system, and abnormalities in neural
connectivity are associated with a multitude of neurodevelopmental disorders.
The Lowery Lab uses this research focus as a platform to further our understanding of the cell biological defects that underlie specific neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and intellectual disability disorders, as well as various developmental disorders affecting other organ systems, such as
Our pathologically-focused research stemmed from an initial focus on microtubule dynamics. We began by studying the regulation of the plus-ends of microtubules, which play a key role in axon guidance. We investigated an important feature of microtubule plus-ends, a conserved set of proteins called 'plus-end tracking proteins' (+TIPs) that localize to the plus-ends and regulate their behavior. Specifically, our lab has investigated the role of the TACC family proteins
during embryonic development. We have also expanded our research focus to other areas,
including the role microtubules play in facilitating neural crest cell migration.
Our research lab uses Xenopus Laevis and associated techniques for gene knockdown to study the function of various genes in embryonic neurodevelopment. Additionally, we use high-resolution live imaging and computational analysis of cytoskeletal behavior in cultured Xenopus laevis cells to answer the question
of how +TIPs interact and function.