Scott Alan Holley PhD

Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology


My doctoral research at the University of Chicago with Chip Ferguson demonstrated the conservation of dorsal-ventral patterning mechanisms between insects and vertebrates, identified noggin as a BMP inhibitor and originated concept of facilitated morphogen diffusion. I was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow with Nobel Laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. As a postdoc, I discovered the zebrafish segmentation clock, a genetic mechanism that leads to vertebral defects such as scoliosis when perturbed in humans. My lab at Yale studies systems developmental biology, biophysics and biomechanics of vertebral column development in zebrafish. We combine in vivo biophysics, embryology, genetics, live imaging and systems level data analysis and computer modeling to study pattern formation and morphogenesis. Our experimental approach is driven by the idea that quantitative in vivo analysis will lead to fundamental insights into the emergence of biological organization from the collective interaction of its constituent parts. My lab’s research has been supported by grants from the NIH, NSF, the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.

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