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Christopher Rose


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Christopher Rose
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B.S. - McMaster University
M.S. - University of Victoria
Ph.D. - Harvard University

Office Hours    |    Personal web page

Courses:   Principles of Animal Development (BIO 316), Comparative Morphology and Evolution of the Vertebrates (BIO 320), Biology in the Movies (HON 200X), Evolutionary and Societal Impacts of Developmental Biology (BIO 450), Scientific Perspectives (GSCI 104)

Research Interests:  The development and evolution of amphibians.

My research is generally on the development and evolution of amphibians, and specifically on the growth, metamorphosis, and evolution of their skeletal morphology.

            One project addresses the role of cell behaviors in the growth and metamorphic remodeling of cranial cartilages. Amphibians differ from most vertebrates in having pharyngeal arch (i.e. jaw and throat) cartilages that grow isometrically and then undergo different kinds of change shape at metamorphosis. Cell behaviors that might contribute to growth and shape change in cartilage include cell division, cell growth, change in cell shape, cell death, cell apposition, and matrix secretion. The cell behaviors controlling shape change might be either regionalized or interspersed within cartilages. Our work focuses on two cartilages, Meckels cartilage of the lower jaw and the ceratohyal, that are not replaced by bone and lack any evidence of regionalized cell behaviors at larval stages. We produce and compare spatial maps of different cell behaviors and properties for each cartilage at various larval and metamorphic stages to better understand how cell division, cell growth, and cell apposition contribute to isometric growth, how metamorphic cell behaviors are patterned inside larval cartilages, and how cell behaviors change in the two transitions between growth and shape change.

            A second project uses linear dimensions and several landmark- and curved-based morphometric techniques to analyze the pattern of shape change in pharyngeal arch cartilages during growth and metamorphosis.

            A third project uses embryonic tissue transplant and induced gene expression techniques to test whether the embryonic expression of Hox genes that control the specification of the larval shape of these cartilages is also involved in specifying their response to thyroid hormone in metamorphic remodeling.

            While the studies on describing cartilage shape and the patterns and specification of cell behaviors are currently limited to Xenopus laevis, the ultimate goal is to develop a methodological framework for comparative studies that will address the role of cell behaviors and their mediation by thyroid hormone in the evolutionary diversification of amphibian skeleton.

            My research techniques include osteological and morphometric analyses, all kinds of microscopy, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, tissue grafting and mRNA injections of embryos.

            I also teach and write about the role of popular culture and movies in biology education.

Selected Publications:

Rose, C.S. 2009. Generating, growing and transforming skeletal shape: insights from amphibian pharyngeal arch cartilages. BioEssays 31: 287-299.

Rose, C.S. 2008. Review of “Biological Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment” Robert G.B. Reid. Integrative and Comparative Biology 48:871-873.

Rose, C.S. 2007. Biology in the movies: Using the double-edged sword of popular culture to enhance public understanding of science. Evol. Biol. 34: 49-54.

Wang, Y. and C.S. Rose. 2005. Jeholotriton paradoxus (Amphibian: Caudata) from the Lower Cretaceous of 
Southeastern Inner Mongolia, China. J. Vertebrate Paleontol. 25(3): 523-532.

Rose, C.S. 2005. Integrating ecology and developmental biology to explain the timing of frog metamorphosis. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20: 129-135.

Rose, C.S. 2003. Thyroid hormone mediated development in vertebrates: What makes frogs unique? In: Environment, Development and Evolution, Toward a Synthesis, G. B. Müller, B. K. Hall, R. D. Pearson, eds. Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 197-237.

Rose, C.S. 2003. The developmental morphology of salamander skulls. In: Amphibian Biology, Vol. 5. Osteology, H. Heatwole and M Davies, ed., Australia: Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty. Ltd., pp. 1686-1783.

Rose, C.S. 2003. How to teach biology using the movie science of cloning people, resurrecting the dead, and combining flies and humans. Public Understand. Sci. 12: 289-296.