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Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology Brief History

Brief History

The Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology (LCDB) has continued the long tradition of NIDCR research on connective tissue molecules, and it now conducts research on a wide variety of extracellular matrix and cell surface molecules, receptors, genes, and intracellular signaling pathways in embryonic development, adult biology, and microbiology. It was originally founded in 1974 as the Laboratory of Developmental Biology and Anomalies under the leadership of George Martin. The Cell Biology Section, originally headed by Hynda Kleinman, and the Molecular Biology Section, headed by Yoshihiko Yamada, originated in 1985. Dr. Martin left to become Scientific Director of the National Institute on Aging in 1988. In 1990, Kenneth Yamada became Laboratory Chief. His Membrane Biochemistry Section of the National Cancer Institute was incorporated as the Developmental Mechanisms Section, and the name of the Laboratory was shortened to the "Laboratory of Developmental Biology." These changes were accompanied by increased emphasis on studies broadly relevant to developmental biology and related disorders. Steven Akiyama received tenure in 1992 to become the fourth senior tenured scientist. In 1996, Dr. Akiyama left the NIDCR to undertake new responsibilities as Associate Director for Research and Training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH. After a reorganization of the NIDCR Division of Intramural Research in 1996, the name of the Laboratory was changed to the "Craniofacial Developmental Biology and Regeneration Branch." Three new Principal Investigators joined the LCDB/CDBRB in 2004: Ashok Kulkarni moved his Unit to the LCDB and now heads the Functional Genomics Section; Matthew Hoffman became a tenure-track Investigator in 2004 to head the Matrix and Morphogenesis Unit, and Kelly Ten Hagen joined in late 2004 as the second tenure track Investigator to head the Developmental Glycobiology Unit. Dr. Kleinman left the NIH in 2006 to become a Professor at the George Washington University Medical Center. In 2007, the name of the Laboratory/Branch was changed to the "Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology" (LCDB) to recognize its primary focus on fundamental research in both cell biology and embryonic development. Kenneth Yamada's group is now the "Cell Biology Section" to acknowledge its focus on cell biological approaches. Matthew Hoffman received tenure in 2011 and is now the head of the Matrix and Morphogenesis Section. Kelly Ten Hagen received tenure in 2012 and is now the head of the Developmental Glycobiology Section. John Cisar and John Thompson joined the LCDB as additional Section Chiefs in 2012. Dr. Thompson retired in 2013, while Dr. Cisar continues to head the Microbial Receptors Section. Besides LCDB’s history of research on many aspects of the extracellular matrix and the cell surface, a long-standing tradition throughout the history of the LCDB/CDBRB/LDB – even though its name has changed several times – has been its high priority on training postdoctoral investigators to become independent leaders in the field. This commitment to training, mentoring, and career development is still shared by its six current Principal Investigators.


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This page last updated: May 28, 2014