Dr. Marcus Davis


Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; Professor of Biology
Year Started at JMU: 2018
Contact Info
Website: http://educ.jmu.edu/~davis4mc/

Research Description

In the Davis Lab, my students and I investigate how evolution and development interact to generate the diversity of organismal forms we see in the world.  More specifically, we study the gene regulatory networks that drive the development of vertebrate appendages (fins & limbs).  We take a broadly comparative approach, studying vertebrates such as paddlefish, sharks, zebrafish, and salamanders to test our hypotheses.  The insights gained from our research have the potential to inform congenital birth defects research and regenerative medicine.

  • PhD in Organismal Biology and Anatomy, 2004, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • BS in Applied Biology, 1996, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Select Publications
  • Darnet S, Dragalzew AC, Amaral DB, Sousa JF, Thompson AW, Cass AN, Lorena J, Pires ES, Costa CM, Sousa MP, Fröbisch NB, Oliveira G, Schneider PN, Davis MC, Braasch I & I Schneider (2019). Deep evolutionary origin of limb and fin regeneration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(30): 15106-15115. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1900475116.
  • Tulenko FJ, Massey JL, Holmquist E, Kigundu G, Thomas S, Smith SME, Mazan S and MC Davis (2017) Fin-fold development in paddlefish and catshark and implications for the evolution of the autopod. Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences 284: 20162780. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2780.
  • Tulenko FJ, Augustus, GJ, Massey, JL, Sims, SE, Mazan, S, and MC Davis. (2016) HoxD expression in the fin-fold compartment of basal gnathostomes and implications for paired appendage evolution. Scientific Reports 6, 22720. DOI: 10.1038/srep22720.

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