Kathleen Kovalevski Smith

Professor of Biology

Office: 
130 Science Drive, Room 122 Duke Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
90338
Phone: 
(919) 684-3402

Lab Site: http://people.duke.edu/~kksmith/

Research Interests: 

I am interested in the functional and evolutionary morphology of vertebrates. My research has included the functional and phylogenetic significance of variations in form of craniofacial structures in squamate reptiles and mammals, the biomechanics of a class of structures called musculohydrostats, and the roles of adaptive evolution and constraint in morphological diversification. My current focus is on the relation between evolutionary and developmental processes, with particular focus on the evolutionary, functional and developmental consequences of heterochronies in the morphogenesis of cranial nerves, muscles, bones and sensory structures in eutherian and metatherian mammals. I have shown that one of the most fundamental differences between the two taxa is a delay in marsupials of the development of the central nervous system (CNS) and cranial sense organs and an advancement of certain cranial skeletal-muscular tissues. Specifically, in marsupials the central nervous system and particularly the forebrain is delayed relative to the development of the bones around the oral apparatus, the chondrocranium and the differentiation of cranial muscles. Currently my work is focused on the timing and pattern of early neural crest migration in marsupials. In recent years I have demonstrated that neural crest differentiates and migrates earlier in marsupials, relative to neural tube or somite differentiation, than in another other vertebrate thus far reported. I am now focusing on the patterns of expression of major genes thought to impose regional identity on the neural crest and neural tube. In addition I am looking at the phylogenetic context of these heterochronies, with a comparative study of early development in therian mammals, monotremes, and non-mammalian amniotes in order to identify the primitive developmental condition for mammals.

My current work is a focus on the relation between evolution and development in the mammalian skull. My model system involves comparisons of development in placental and marsupial mammals. These mammals are characterized by different developmental trajectories, extending back to some of the earliest events of differentiation, largely as a result of their different life history adaptations. My work focuses on a number of different questions. First, what are the differences in the development of the craniofacial region in marsupial and placental mammals? The head is particularly important in the comparison between marupials and placentals, as many cranial systems must be functional at birth in marsupials, despite the fact that morphogenesis has just started. Second, how do the differences in the developmental pattern reflect the necessities of the marsupial reproductive strategy? What is the adaptive significance of the developmental differences and what constraints might be operating? Here I am looking at development not as merely a means to produce an adult, but as a feature that has an evolutionary significance of its own. Third, what can this comparative approach tell us about mammalian head development in general? There are many differences in the way the head develops in marsupials and placentals. It is reasonable to assume that those elements that develop independently (e.g., appear in different temporal or spatial sequences in the two taxa) are elements that are not mechanistically linked or integrated, whereas those that are consistently associated in the two taxa, despite changes in other structures, may be linked by developmental mechanisms. I am using this comparative approach to examine developmental integration and plasticity. Fourth, what are the developmental mechanisms underlying these evolutionary changes? The most significant differences in development in the two taxa reflect differences in the relative timing of the development of the central nervous system and somatic structures. Hypotheses on many levels have been proposed on the possible mechanistic relations between the development of the CNS and the cranial skeleton. To what extent can these hypotheses on mechanistic relation be tested by comparing events in organisms in which the elements are shifted dramatically in time or space? The comparison is, in essence, a natural experiment. Finally, have the specific developmental patterns of marsupial and placental mammals had an impact on the evolutionary diversity and success of these organisms?

My current project focuses on the earliest patterning events. These projects include a study of heterochronies in the earliest morphological and genetic events in the head of marsupial and placental mammals, a study of neural crest in marupial mammals, and a study of patterns of Hox gene expression along the developing body axis, relations between the brain and cranial skeleton.

Education

  • Ph.D. 1980, Harvard University

  • B.A. 1973, University of California at Santa Cruz

Papers Published

Placental Evolution in Therian Mammals, 7, 2015
Smith, KK, pp. 205-225

Pediatric Coronal Suture Fiber Alignment and the Effect of Interdigitation on Coronal Suture Mechanical Properties, 2, 2015
Adamski, KN; Loyd, AM; Samost, A; Myers, B; Nightingale, R; Smith, K; Dale Bass, CR, Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 43 vol. (9); pp. 2101-2111

Heterochrony and developmental timing mechanisms: changing ontogenies in evolution., 10, 2014
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology. 34 pp. 99-107

Heterochrony and developmental timing mechanisms: Changing ontogenies in evolution, 1, 2014
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology. 34 pp. 99-107

Heterochrony in somitogenesis rate in a model marsupial, Monodelphis domestica., 2012
Keyte, A; Smith, KK, Evolution and Development. (2012) 14 vol. (1); pp. 93-103

Tempo of trophic evolution and its impact on mammalian diversification, 2012
Price, SA; Hopkins, SSB; Smith, KK; Roth, VL, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. (2012) 109 vol. (18); pp. 7008-7012

Epigenetic interactions of the cardiac neural crest, 4, 2011
Alonzo, M; Smith, KK; Kirby, ML, pp. 181-194

Evolution and development of the mammalian dentition: Insights from the marsupial Monodelphis domestica, 2011
Moustakas, JE; Smith, KK; Hlusko, LJ, Developmental Dynamics. (2011) 240 vol. (1); pp. 232-239

Developmental origins of precocial forelimbs in marsupial neonates., 12, 2010
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, Development (Cambridge). 137 vol. (24); pp. 4283-4294

The evolution and development of the mammalian dentition: Insights from the marsupial Monodelphis domestica, 7, 2009
Moustakas, JE; Smith, KK; Hlusko, LJ, Developmental Biology. 331 vol. (2); pp. 461-461

Limb specification and growth initiation in Xenopus laevis: Possible heterochronic mechanisms, 2, 2009
Carreno, CA; Smith, KK, Integrative and Comparative Biology (BioOne). 49 pp. E208-E208

Accelerate synthesis in ecology and environmental sciences, 0, 2009
Carpenter, SR; Armbrust, EV; Arzberger, PW; III, FSC; Elser, JJ; Hackett, EJ; Ives, AR; Kareiva, PM; Leibold, MA; Lundberg, P; Mangel, M; Merchant, N; Murdoch, WW; Palmer, MA; Peters, DPC; Pickett, STA; Smith, KK; Wall, DH; Zimmerman, AS, BioScience (BioOne). 59 vol. (8); pp. 699-701

Building a marsupial neonate: Evolution of the limb development program in opossum, 7, 2008
Keyte, AL; Imam, T; Alonzo, M; Halbert, T; Smith, KK, Developmental Biology. 319 vol. (2); pp. 498-498

Basic Maintenance and Breeding of the Opossum Monodelphis domestica., 10, 2008
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, CSH Protoc. 2008 pp. pdb.prot5073

Opossum (Monodelphis domestica): A Marsupial Development Model., 10, 2008
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, CSH Protoc. 2008 pp. pdb.emo104

Harvesting monodelphis embryos., 10, 2008
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, CSH Protoc. 2008 pp. pdb.prot5074

Whole-mount in situ hybridization in monodelphis embryos., 10, 2008
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, CSH Protoc. 2008 pp. pdb.prot5076

Monodelphis whole-embryo culture., 10, 2008
Keyte, AL; Smith, KK, CSH Protoc. 2008 pp. pdb.prot5075

Limb heterochrony in the marsupial Monodelphis domestica, 12, 2007
Keyte, AL; Imam, T; Smith, KK, Journal of Morphology. 268 vol. (12); pp. 1092-1092

Limb heterochrony in a marsupial, M-domestica, 7, 2006
Keyte, AL; Imam, T; Smith, KK, Developmental Biology. 295 vol. (1); pp. 415-415

Craniofacial development in marsupial mammals: developmental origins of evolutionary change., 5, 2006
Smith, KK, Developmental Dynamics. 235 vol. (5); pp. 1181-1193

Kathleen K. Smith: Integrating the levels of evolution, 0, 2006
Smith, KK, BioScience (BioOne). 56 vol. (6); pp. 470-474

Craniofacial patterning and the evolution of mammals, 3, 2005
Smith, KK, The FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 19 vol. (5); pp. A1335-A1335

Tooth eruption in Monodelphis domestica and its significance for phylogeny and natural history, 0, 2005
Nievelt, AFHV; Smith, KK, Journal of Mammalogy. 86 vol. (2); pp. 333-341

Facial development in marsupials: functional requirements and developmental constraints., 0, 2005
Smith, KK, American Journal of Physical Anthropology. pp. 192-193

To replace or not to replace: The significance of reduced functional tooth replacement in marsupial and placental mammals, Winter, 2005
Nievelt, AFHV; Smith, KK, Paleobiology. (Winter, 2005) 31 vol. (2); pp. 324-346

Early differentiation and migration of cranial neural crest in the opossum, Monodelphis domestica., 3, 2003
Vaglia, JL; Smith, KK, Evolution and Development. 5 vol. (2); pp. 121-135

Early development of cranial neural crest in the marsupial, Monodelphis domestica, 3, 2003
Vaglia, J; Smith, KK, Development and Evolution. 5 pp. 121-135

Time's arrow: heterochrony and the evolution of development., 2003
Smith, KK, International Journal of Developmental Biology. (2003) 47 vol. (7-8); pp. 613-621

Sequence heterochrony and the evolution of development., 4, 2002
Smith, KK, Journal of Morphology. 252 vol. (1); pp. 82-97

Ontogenetic and phylogenetic transformations of the ear ossicles in Marsupial mammals, 0, 2002
Snchez-Villagra, MR; Gemballa, S; Nummela, S; Smith, KK; Maier, W, Journal of Morphology. 251 vol. (3); pp. 219-238

Early development of the neural plate, neural crest and facial region of marsupials., 7, 2001
Smith, KK, Journal of Anatomy. 199 vol. (Pt 1-2); pp. 121-131

Early development of the cranial neural crest, neural tube and paraxial mesoderm in marsupials., 12, 2001
Smith, KK; Vaglia, J, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 41 vol. (6); pp. 1589-1589

The evolution of mammalian development., 0, 2001
Smith, KK, Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 156 pp. 119-135

Heterochrony revisited: The evolution of developmental sequences, 0, 2001
Smith, KK, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 73 vol. (2); pp. 169-186

Morphology and mechanics of tongue movement in the African pignosed frog Hemisus marmoratum: A muscular hydrostatic model, 0, 1999
Nishikawa, KC; Kier, WM; Smith, KK, The Journal of experimental biology. 202 vol. (7); pp. 771-780

Early cranial development in marsupial mammals: The origins of heterochrony., 0, 1999
Smith, KK, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 39 vol. (5); pp. 13A-13A

Statistical analyses of developmental sequences: the craniofacial region in marsupial and placental mammals., 7, 1998
Nunn, CL; Smith, KK, American Naturalist. 152 vol. (1); pp. 82-101

Have gene knockouts caused evolutionary reversals in the mammalian first arch?, 3, 1998
Smith, KK; Schneider, RA, Bioessays. 20 vol. (3); pp. 245-255

Extreme bilateral molar rotation in Monodelphis domestica (Marsupialia: Didelphidae)., 8, 1997
Van Nievelt, AF; Smith, KK, Archives of Oral Biology. 42 vol. (8); pp. 587-591

Diversity and evolution of the marsupial mandibular angular process, 0, 1997
Sánchez-Villagra, MR; Smith, KK, Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 4 vol. (2); pp. 119-144

Comparative rates of development in Monodelphis and Didelphis, 0, 1997
Smith, KK; Nievelt, AFHV; Rowe, T, Science. 275 vol. (5300); pp. 683-684

Comparative patterns of craniofacial development in eutherian and metatherian mammals, 1997
Smith, KK, Evolution. (1997) 51 vol. (5); pp. 1663-1678

Ancient single origin for Malagasy primates, 0, 1996
Yoder, AD; Cartmill, M; Ruvolo, M; Smith, K; Vilgalys, R, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 93 vol. (10); pp. 5122-5126

Integration of craniofacial structures during development in mammals', 1996
Smith, KK, Integrative and Comparative Biology. (1996) 36 vol. (1); pp. 70-79

Development of craniofacial musculature in Monodelphis domestica (Marsupialia, Didelphidae)., 1994
Smith, KK, Journal of Morphology. (1994) 222 vol. (2); pp. 149-173

Are neuromotor systems conserved in evolution?, 0, 1994
Smith, KK, Brain, behavior and evolution. 43 vol. (6); pp. 293-305

The conservation of neuromotor systems in evolution., 1994
Smith, KK, Brain, Behavior and Evolution.. (1994) 43 pp. 293-305

Cranial osteogenesis in Monodelphis domestica (Didelphidae) and Macropus eugenii (Macropodidae)., 2, 1993
Clark, CT; Smith, KK, Journal of Morphology. 215 vol. (2); pp. 119-149

THE EVOLUTION OF THE MAMMALIAN PHARYNX, 4, 1992
SMITH, KK, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 104 vol. (4); pp. 313-349

HETEROCHRONIES IN CRANIOFACIAL DEVELOPMENT IN EUTHERIAN AND METATHERIAN MAMMALS, 0, 1991
SMITH, KK, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 31 vol. (5); pp. A54-A54

The morphology of the intrinsic tongue musculature in snakes (Reptilia, Ophidia): Functional and phylogenetic implications, 0, 1990
Smith, KK; Mackay, KA, Journal of Morphology. 205 vol. (3); pp. 307-324

The anatomy and function of the feeding apparatus in two armadillos (Dasypoda): anatomy is not destiny, 0, 1990
Smith, KK; Redford, KH, Journal of Zoology. 222 vol. (1); pp. 27-47

FUNCTIONAL AND PHYLOGENETIC SIGNIFICANCE OF SNAKE TONGUE MORPHOLOGY, 0, 1989
SMITH, KK; MACKAY, KA, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 29 vol. (4); pp. A122-A122

TRUNKS, TONGUES, AND TENTACLES - MOVING WITH SKELETONS OF MUSCLE, 0, 1989
SMITH, KK; KIER, WM, American scientist. 77 vol. (1); pp. 29-35

Electromyography of the fin musculature of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis., 0, 1989
Kier, WM; Smith, KK; Miyan, JA, Journal of Experimental Biology. 143 pp. 17-31

Histological demonstration of muscle spindles in the tongue of the rat., 0, 1989
Smith, KK, Archives of Oral Biology. 34 vol. (7); pp. 529-534

Form and function of the tongue in agamid lizards with comments on its phylogenetic significance., 5, 1988
Smith, KK, Journal of Morphology. 196 vol. (2); pp. 157-171

MORPHOLOGY AND FUNCTION OF THE JAW APPARATUS IN 2 ARMADILLOS, 0, 1988
SMITH, KK; REDFORD, KH, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 28 vol. (4); pp. A175-A175

THE TONGUE IN AGAMID LIZARDS - FUNCTIONAL AND PHYLOGENETIC SIGNIFICANCE, 0, 1987
SMITH, KK, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 27 vol. (4); pp. A104-A104

FUNCTIONAL VERTEBRATE MORPHOLOGY - HILDEBRAND,M, BRAMBLE,DM, LIEM,KF, WAKE,DB, 10, 1986
SMITH, KK, Nature. 323 vol. (6087); pp. 404-404

Morphology and function of the tongue and hyoid apparatus in Varanus (Varanidae, Lacertilia), 0, 1986
Smith, KK, Journal of Morphology. 187 vol. (3); pp. 261-287

Strain gauge measurement of mesokinetic movement in the lizard Varanus exanthematicus., 1, 1985
Smith, KK; Hylander, WL, The Journal of experimental biology. 114 pp. 53-70

Tongues, tentacles and trunks: the biomechanics of movement in muscular-hydrostats, 0, 1985
Kier, WM; Smith, KK, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 83 vol. (4); pp. 307-324

THE USE OF THE TONGUE AND HYOID APPARATUS DURING FEEDING IN LIZARDS (CTENOSAURA-SIMILIS AND TUPINAMBIS-NIGROPUNCTATUS), 0, 1984
SMITH, KK, Journal of Zoology. 202 vol. (JAN); pp. 115-143

THE BIOMECHANICS OF MOVEMENT IN TONGUES AND TENTACLES, 0, 1983
KIER, WM; SMITH, KK, Journal of Biomechanics. 16 vol. (4); pp. 292-293

TONGUES, TENTACLES AND TRUNKS - THE BIOMECHANICS OF MOVEMENT IN MUSCULAR-HYDROSTATS, 0, 1983
KIER, WM; SMITH, KK, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 23 vol. (4); pp. 904-904

THE MORPHOLOGY AND FUNCTION OF THE TONGUE IN LIZARDS, 0, 1983
SMITH, KK, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 23 vol. (4); pp. 1028-1028

STRAIN-GAUGE MEASUREMENT OF MESOKINETIC MOVEMENT IN VARANUS-EXANTHEMATICUS, 0, 1982
SMITH, KK; HYLANDER, WL, Integrative and Comparative Biology. 22 vol. (4); pp. 924-924

An electromyographic study of the function of the jaw adducting muscles in Varanus exanthematicus (Varanidae), 0, 1982
Smith, KK, Journal of Morphology. 173 vol. (2); pp. 137-158

Mechanical significance of streptostyly in lizards, 0, 1980
Smith, KK, Nature. 283 vol. (5749); pp. 778-779

Book Chapters:

THE PLACENTA IN THERIAN MAMMALS: NEW VIEWS ON THE MARSUPIAL PLACENTAL DICHOTOMY in Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution., 2014
K.K. Smith

Opossum (Monodelphis domestica): A Marsupial Developmental Model in Emerging Model Organisms: A laboratory manual., 0, 2008
A. L. Keyte and K.K. Smith

Neural crest and cardiac mesoderm in Epigenetics: Linking Genotype and Phenotype in Development and Evolution, 0, 2008
M. Alonzo, K.K. Smith and M.L. Kirby

Awards

  • 2010 AIBS Outstanding Service Award, American Institute of Biological Sciences