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Rocio Benabentos, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Developmental Mechanisms Section

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH/NIDCR
BUILDING 30, ROOM 523
30 CONVENT DRIVE MSC 4326
BETHESDA, MD 20892

Phone: 301-496-1392
Fax: 301-480-5353
Email Address: benabentosr@mail.nih.gov

Biographical Sketch

I received a B.Sc in Biology in 2004 from the University of Houston. Subsequently, I attended the graduate program in Cell and Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine, where I received a Ph.D in 2011. My thesis work involved studying the molecular mechanisms of kin discrimination in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. Currently, as a postdoctoral fellow in the Developmental Mechanisms Section, I am investigating the development of pharyngeal neurons in the sea star Patiria miniata.

Research Interests/Scientific Focus

I have a broad interest in the evolution of developmental traits. I am currently studying the development of pharyngeal neurons in the sea star and comparing it to that of the sea urchin.  It has been previously shown that sea urchin pharyngeal neurons originate from endoderm, contrary to the dogma that neurons develop solely from ectoderm. In order to investigate whether this trait is specific to sea urchins or might be generalized to other organisms, we are investigating the origin of the pharyngeal neurons in the sea star embryo. Sea stars and sea urchins diverged from each other around 500 million years ago.

 



 

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014