Dr. Lomeli C. Shull, Biology


Dr. Lomeli C. Shull



Assistant Professor





Describe your research in about 200 words.

I am a developmental biologist interested in understanding how our complicated facial structures—all the cartilage, bone, and neurons—form. Neural crest cells are a stem-cell like population of cells that give rise to a variety of cells within the developing face including the cartilage and bone that will form the craniofacial skeleton, as well as neurons of the peripheral nervous system. Defects in neural crest cell development can result in congenital birth defects that affect the craniofacial structures including, but not limited to cleft lip with or without cleft palate. My research focuses on understanding how the complicated processes of neural crest development are controlled. Certain proteins (chromatin remodelers and modifiers) have the ability to control when and where certain genes are turned on or off by opening or closing specific DNA regions. Utilizing two different vertebrate animal models (zebrafish and mice) I hope to tease a part the conserved and divergent molecular functions of these chromatin remodelers across different vertebrate species during neural crest cell development with the greater goal of understanding how disruptions to these processes contributes to the etiology of congenital birth defects affecting the facial structures like cleft lip with or without cleft palate.


What’s the most interesting thing you have learned from a student?

I enjoy working with students and I am constantly learning how to be a better educator through my interactions with them.