Daniel Turnbull, PhD

Daniel TurnbullProfessor of Radiology and Pathology
Ph.D. 1991; University of Toronto

New York University School of Medicine
Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine
540 First Avenue 5th floor
New York, N.Y. 10016
Tel: (212) 263-7262
Fax: (212) 263-8214
E-mail: Daniel.Turnbull@med.nyu.edu

Lab Website: http://saturn.med.nyu.edu/research/sb/turnbulllab/
Research Theme(s): Developmental Neurobiology, Cardiovascular Development, Morphogenesis, Stem Cell Biology
Keywords: MRI, Ultrasound, MRI Reporters

Research Summary:

In vivo imaging of mouse development

Extensive genetic information and the rapidly expanding number of techniques available to manipulate the genome of the mouse have led to its widespread and increasing use in studies of development and to model human diseases. In this rapid proliferation of methods to genetically engineer mice, in vivo technologies to analyze anatomical structure and function in the mouse have not kept pace. The results of transgenic and gene targeting experiments, for the most part, are still analyzed using histological methods which are static and two-dimensional, making it difficult to understand the underlying developmental and disease processes which are dynamic and three-dimensional. We are developing both ultrasound and magnetic resonance micro-imaging approaches to provide noninvasive, dynamic structural and functional data on developmental and disease processes in mice. Past successes include the development of ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) for in vivo analysis of cardiovascular function in normal and mutant mouse embryos, and in utero UBM-guided injections to introduce cells, viruses and other agents into tissues and organs over a wide range of embryonic stages. MRI has allowed us to study brain tumor progression, and neuro-development and degeneration in a variety of mouse models.

In the area of stem cell research, a major challenge has been the in vivo monitoring of cell behaviors in the brain and other organs of critical mouse models of human dusease. Optical reporters are available for genetic labeling of stem cells and their progeny, but optical imaging is limited to very superficial tissues or explant culture systems. To address this challenge, we have been developing magnetic cell labeling approaches for in vivo imaging with MRI. Examples include in situ iron-oxide nanoparticle labeling of cells in the mouse brain, from embryonic to adult stages, enabling in vivo tracking of neural stem cells and their progeny to assess cell proliferation and migration in normal and injured brain and spinal cord. We have also developed manganese (Mn)-enhanced MRI methods, which enable in vivo studies of brain development and function in several mutant mouse models, including a conditional knockout of the Patched1 gene that spontaneously develops medulloblastoma tumors. Recent work has focused on Mn-binding and transport proteins that can serve as MRI reporters, allowing us to genetically label and track defined cells in the developing mouse brain with Mn-enhanced MRI.

Selected Publications: