Alexander M Schreiber
University of Rhode Island
Kingston and Narragansett, RI
NIH National Research Service Award, National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore, MD
National Science Foundation Summer Research Fellowship, Ocean Research Institute, Tokyo University, Japan
Board of Editors Member, International Journal of Endocrinology
Nothing fascinates me more than the mystery of vertebrate metamorphosis. How does a tadpole turn into a frog? What genes mediate the abrupt transformation of a larval fish or amphibian into its juvenile form? How did metamorphosis evolve? I have studied the biology of vertebrate metamorphosis in fishes and frogs for over 22 years. Metamorphosis is a period during which virtually every organ in the body changes abruptly and dramatically. Metamorphosis in frogs is characterized by three broad categories of development: 1) apoptosis, during which larval-specific structures (e.g. tail, gills) are programmed to die; 2) cell proliferation and differentiation of adult-specific organs (e.g. growth of the limbs); 3) the remodeling of all other organs from larval to adult forms (e.g. the intestine of the herbivorous tadpole remodels to accommodate a carnivorous adult lifestyle). Remarkably, all of these developmental programs are mediated entirely by one molecule: thyroid hormone. As such, amphibian metamorphosis is a naturally-inducible system that is conducive for studying numerous questions relating to the development of virtually any tissue or organ system.