John B Wallingford

Molecular Biosciences

We combine in vivo imaging with systems biology to explore the cell biological basis of embryonic development


Phone: 512-232-2784

Office Location
PAT 222

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences
2506 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712

A major challenge in biology is to understand how form and function arise in developing embryos. The complex tissue rearrangements that assemble embryos are directed by patterned gene expression and are executed by specialized cell behaviors, so our lab seeks to understand the mechanisms linking systems-level programs of gene expression to discrete cell biological processes in vivo.

To this end, we have adopted an multi-tiered approach that combines systems biology and bioinformatics with novel strategies for in vivo imaging in Xenopus, zebrafish and mice.


Current work focuses on:

~Planar cell polarity (PCP) and actomyosin dynamics during collective cell movement

~PCP proteins in cilia structure and function

~Mechanisms of ciliopathic craniofacial defects

~Genomic control of cell movement and ciliogenesis by Rfx family transcription factors

~Exploiting evolution to advance cell biology and drug discovery


Ultimately, these studies will shed light on the genetics and cell biology of human birth defects.

2014 Shindo & Wallingford, PCP and septins compartmentalize cortical actomyosin to direct collective cell movement. Science, in press.

2014 Chung et al., Coordinated genomic control of ciliogenesis and cell movement by Rfx2.  eLife, in press.

2013 Tabler et al., Fuz mutant mice reveal share mechanisms between ciliopathies and FGF-related syndromes. Developmental Cell 25, 623-635.

2013 Wallingford et al., The Continuing Challenge of Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Neural Tube Defects, Science 339: 1222002.

2012 Cha et al., Evolutionarily Repurposed Networks Reveal the Well-Known Antifungal Drug Thiabendazole to Be a Novel Vascular Disrupting Agent, PLoS Biology 10: e1001379.

2012 Lienkamp et al., Kidney tubules elongate using a novel mode of planar cell polarity-dependent convergent extension. Nature Genetics 44, 1382-1387.

2010 Kim et al., Planar cell polarity acts through septins to control collective cell movement and ciliogenesis, Science 329: 1337-1340.

2009 Gray RS, Abitua PB, Wlodarczyk BJ, Szabo-Rogers HL, Blanchard O, Lee I, Weiss GS, Liu KJ, Marcotte EM, Wallingford JB, Finnell RH., The planar cell polarity effector Fuz is essential for targeted membrane trafficking, ciliogenesis and mouse embryonic development., Nat Cell Biol 11: 1225-35.