CMRC Children's Memorial Research Center
Kohtz Laboratory

Jhumku Kohtz, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor, Developmental Biology Program

2430 North Halsted
Box 204 Room C.421K
Chicago, IL 60614-3394
Phone: (773) 755-6358
Fax: (773) 775-6385

Year Degree Institution
1999 Postdoc New York University Medical Center, NY
1994 Postdoc Columbia University, NY
1990 Ph.D., M.Ph., Cellular and Molecular Pathology Mount Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York
1983 B.S., Bioengineering Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

Research Interests
Two major events occur in the developing nervous system. In the first, a pattern is created that results in the generation of different kinds of neurons depending on position in the embryo. In the second, neurons in a particular region multiply and diversify. My laboratory is studying how both of these events are controlled in the developing brain by the key regulator Sonic hedgehog (Shh).
The secreted Shh protein is known to be required for the formation of specific neurons in the brain and spinal cord. We find that different forms of the Shh protein affect different kinds of neurons in the embryo. In addition, we find that Shh activity can depend on the presence of other factors. These experiments are important to our basic understanding of how the brain forms during development.
In addition to its role in diversifying neurons, Shh has been shown to function in neuronal proliferation and survival. . For instance, it has recently been found that a particular form of Shh that we study can rescue neuronal loss that occurs during Parkinson's disease in an animal model. The involvement of Shh in the growth and survival of diverse neurons in the brain and spinal cord make it an ideal candidate protein to test for therapeutic effects in models of brain injury. Thus, understanding how Shh functions will be critical in designing tools to rescue neuronal degeneration or damage, by either using the Shh protein itself, or its target neurons.

Research Funding
Title Funding Source Period Amount Duties
Factors Involved in Shh Signaling in the Forebrain National institute for Child Health and Human Development 2003 - 2008 $1,273,313
A Novel ncRNA Involved in the Regulation of Dlx 5/6 National Institute for Child Health and Human Development 2005 - 2007 $388,820
Generation of a Knock-in Model for Evf ncRNAs CMRC PRA Award 2005 - 2006 $50,000
A Novel Transcriptional Coactivator CMRC Bridge Grant 2004 - 2005 $50,000
Shh signaling in the forebrain Howard Hughes Young Investigator Award 1999 - 2000 $150,000

Lab Affiliations
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