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Research Interests for Kathleen K. Smith

Research Interests: Functional morphology and evolution of vertebrates; craniofacial development, evolutionary morphology

I am interested in the functional and evolutionary morphology of vertebrates. My research has included the functional and phylogenetic significance of variations in form of craniofacial structures in squamate reptiles and mammals, the biomechanics of a class of structures called musculohydrostats, and the roles of adaptive evolution and constraint in morphological diversification. My current focus is on the relation between evolutionary and developmental processes, with particular focus on the evolutionary, functional and developmental consequences of heterochronies in the morphogenesis of cranial nerves, muscles, bones and sensory structures in eutherian and metatherian mammals.

I have shown that one of the most fundamental differences between the two taxa is a delay in marsupials of the development of the central nervous system (CNS) and cranial sense organs and an advancement of certain cranial skeletal-muscular tissues. Specifically, in marsupials the central nervous system and particularly the forebrain is delayed relative to the development of the bones around the oral apparatus, the chondrocranium and the differentiation of cranial muscles. Currently my work is focused on the timing and pattern of early neural crest migration in marsupials. In recent years I have demonstrated that neural crest differentiates and migrates earlier in marsupials, relative to neural tube or somite differentiation, than in another other vertebrate thus far reported. I am now focusing on the patterns of expression of major genes thought to impose regional identity on the neural crest and neural tube.

In addition I am looking at the phylogenetic context of these heterochronies, with a comparative study of early development in therian mammals, monotremes, and non-mammalian amniotes in order to identify the primitive developmental condition for mammals.

Keywords:
Adaptation, Physiological, Aging, Anatomy, Comparative, Animal Diseases, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Artiodactyla, Bicuspid, Biological Evolution, Body Patterning, Brain, Cell Differentiation, Cell Movement, Chronobiology Phenomena, Directed Molecular Evolution, Evolution, Molecular, Face, Facial Bones, Facial Muscles, Feeding Behavior, Fibroblast Growth Factors, Forelimb, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Genetic Engineering, Head, Hedgehog Proteins, Histological Techniques, Homeodomain Proteins, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Incidence, Insectivora, Kinesis, Lizards, Malocclusion, Mammals, Mandible, Marsupialia, Maxilla, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Molar, Monodelphis, Morphogenesis, Motor Activity, Muscle Development, Muscle Spindles, Muscles, Neural Crest, Neuromuscular Junction, Olfactory Pathways, Opossums, Orientation, Osteogenesis, Phylogeny, Primates, Rats, Receptors, Notch, Rodentia, Rotation, Skull, Somites, Time Factors, Tongue, Tooth Attrition, Vertebrates, Wnt Proteins
Recent Publications   (search)
  1. Li, P; Smith, KK, Comparative Skeletal Anatomy of Neonatal Ursids and the Altricial-Precocial Spectrum of Therian Mammals, Journal of Morphology, vol. 280 (June, 2019), pp. S165-S165, WILEY
  2. Smith, KK; Keyte, AL, Adaptations of the Marsupial Newborn: Birth as an Extreme Environment., Anatomical Record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007) (December, 2018) [doi[abs]
  3. Adamski, KN; Loyd, AM; Samost, A; Myers, B; Nightingale, R; Smith, K; 'Dale' Bass, CR, Pediatric Coronal Suture Fiber Alignment and the Effect of Interdigitation on Coronal Suture Mechanical Properties., Annals of Biomedical Engineering, vol. 43 no. 9 (September, 2015), pp. 2101-2111, ISSN 0090-6964 [doi[abs]
  4. Smith, KK, Placental Evolution in Therian Mammals, in Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution, edited by Dial, KP; Shubin, N; Brainerd, EL (July, 2015), pp. 205-225, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 022626839X
  5. Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, Heterochrony and developmental timing mechanisms: changing ontogenies in evolution., Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, vol. 34 (October, 2014), pp. 99-107, ISSN 1084-9521 [doi[abs]

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