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WIREs Syst Biol Med
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Pathways, networks, and systems medicine—the meeting place of the Aegean and the mind

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William J. Pavan

William J. Pavan

is interested in using genomic tools to understand how an embryo develops into a functioning organism. His group focuses on neural crest cells, a group of stem cells that differentiate into a wide variety of tissues in the bodys. Issues with the development of the neural crest cells can cause many diseases, ranging from Waardenburg syndrome to cleft lip and palate. Using genomic research tools, Dr. Pavan seeks to identify the genes necessary for normal neural crest cell development, specifically the ones which differentiate into melanocytes. At least 15 genes have been recognized as important in the development of neural crest cells, but there are likely hundreds of genes involved in total. Dr. Pavan’s lab often uses the models of neural crest cell disorders in mice in order to identify the genes needed for normal development. They then study how these genes function, and whether there are corresponding genes in humans that can cause human diseases.

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