Jeremy Nance, PhD

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Professor of Cell Biology Ph.D.,
1999 The University of Arizona

Nance Lab
Gastrulation, Cell Polarity, Germ Cells, Organogenesis, Morphogenesis

Contact Information

Developmental Genetics Program
Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine
New York University School of Medicine
540 First Ave. 4th floor
New York, NY 10016
Office Tel: (212) 263-3156
Fax: (212) 263-7760

Admin Contact
Devki Patel
Tel: (212) 263 - 6281

Analysis of morphogenetic events that establish germ layers and organ primordia.


Our lab uses the C. elegans embryo as a simple model to understand how cell interactions and movements shape the developing body plan.  As in many organisms, cells in the early embryo polarize in response to cell-cell contacts.  Polarity in early C. elegans cells provides a foundation for subsequent cytoskeletal asymmetries that direct the cell movements of gastrulation. Projects in the lab include:

  1. Understanding how cell contacts induce polarity in early embryonic cells.  We have identified a signaling pathway that translates cell contact cues into cell polarity by regulating the spatial activity of RhoGTPases.
  2. Learning how gastrulation movements are triggered in specific cells.   We have found that primordial germ cells utilize a unique hitchhiking mechanism, regulated by E-cadherin, which allows them to be pulled into the embryo during gastrulation.
  3. Uncovering how the various cell types of an organ assemble together.  We have examined assembly of the primordial gonad as a simple model for organogenesis.  The primordial gonad contains two germ cells and two somatic gonad cells, which undergo an elaborate assembly process that includes migration, stopping, pseudopod extension, and wrapping.
  4. Investigating how epithelial cells and tubes form during organogenesis.   We have identified different roles for PAR-3 and PAR-6 in epithelial cell polarization and junction assembly, respectively, and have shown that PAR proteins cooperate with the vesicle tethering exocyst complex to regulate lumen formation in a single-celled tube. 
Selected Publications: 
  • Y. Abdu, C. Maniscalco, J. Heddleston, T. Chew, J. Nance (2016). Developmentally programmed germ cell remodellng by endodermal cell cannibalism. Nature Cell Biology 18(12): 1302-1310.

  • D. Klompstra, D. C. Anderson, J.Y.Yeh, Y. Zilberman, and J. Nance (2015).  An instructive role for C. elegans E-cadherin in translating cell contact cues into cortical polarity. Nature Cell Biology 17: 726-735. 

  • S. T. Armenti, E. Chan, and J. Nance (2014).  Polarized exocyst-mediated vesicle fusion directs intracellular lumenogenesis within the C. elegans excretory cell.  Developmental Biology 394: 110-121.

  • M. R. Rohrschneider and J. Nance (2013).  The union of somatic gonad precursors and primordial germ cells during C. elegans embryogenesis.  Developmental Biology: 379: 139-151.

  • D. Chihara and J. Nance (2012).  An E-cadherin-mediated hitchhiking mechanism for C. elegans germ cell internalization during gastrulation.  Development 139: 2547-2556.

  • D. C. Anderson, J. S. Gill, R. M. Cinalli, and J. Nance (2008).  Polarization of the C. elegans embryo by RhoGAP-mediated exclusion of PAR-6 from cell contacts.  Science 320: 1771-1774.