David R. McClay

Arthur S. Pearse Distinguished Professor of Biology

Office: 
4102 French Science Center, Science Dr., Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Department of Biology, Durham, NC 27708-1000
Phone: 
(919) 613-8188
We ask how the embryo works. Prior to morphogenesis the embryo specifies each cell through transcriptional regulation and signaling. Our research builds gene regulatory networks to understand how that early specification works. We then ask how this specification programs cells for their morphogenetic movements at gastrulation, and how the cells deploy patterning information. Current projects examine 1) novel signal transduction mechanisms that establish and maintain embryonic boundaries mold the embryo at gastrulation; 2) specification of primary mesenchyme cells in such a way that they are prepared to execute an epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and then study mechanistically the regulation of that transition; 3) the specification of endoderm necessary for invagination of the archenteron; 4) formation of the oral/aboral ectoderm and the means by which patterning information is distributed three dimensionally around the embryo. That information is necessary for patterning and inducing skeletogenesis. Other projects examine neural tube folding with the goal of identifying genes associated with neural tube defects. Finally, a large current effort in systems biology is being expended with the goal of enlarging our knowledge of early networks and how they interact.

Education

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 1971

  • M.S., University of Vermont 1965

  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University 1963

McClay, D. “Reprint of: In Memoriam - Eric H. Davidson (1937-2015).” Developmental Biology 412, no. 2 (April 15, 2016): S1–2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.03.025. Full Text

Israel, Jennifer W., Megan L. Martik, Maria Byrne, Elizabeth C. Raff, Rudolf A. Raff, David R. McClay, and Gregory A. Wray. “Comparative Developmental Transcriptomics Reveals Rewiring of a Highly Conserved Gene Regulatory Network during a Major Life History Switch in the Sea Urchin Genus Heliocidaris.Plos Biology 14, no. 3 (March 4, 2016): e1002391. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002391. Full Text

Warner, Jacob F., Esther L. Miranda, and David R. McClay. “Contribution of hedgehog signaling to the establishment of left-right asymmetry in the sea urchin.Developmental Biology 411, no. 2 (March 2016): 314–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.02.008. Full Text

McClay, David R. “Sea Urchin Morphogenesis.Current Topics in Developmental Biology 117 (January 7, 2016): 15–29. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.ctdb.2015.11.003. Full Text

Martik, Megan L., Deirdre C. Lyons, and David R. McClay. “Developmental gene regulatory networks in sea urchins and what we can learn from them.F1000research 5 (January 2016). https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.7381.1. Full Text

McClay, Dave. “Eric H. Davidson (1937–2015).Developmental Biology 406, no. 2 (October 2015): 107–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.10.004. Full Text

Lyons, Deirdre C., Megan L. Martik, Lindsay R. Saunders, and David R. McClay. “Specification to biomineralization: following a single cell type as it constructs a skeleton.Integrative and Comparative Biology 54, no. 4 (October 2014): 723–33. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icu087. Full Text

Cheng, Xianrui, Deirdre C. Lyons, Joshua E. S. Socolar, and David R. McClay. “Delayed transition to new cell fates during cellular reprogramming.Developmental Biology 391, no. 2 (July 2014): 147–57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.04.015. Full Text

Saunders, Lindsay R., and David R. McClay. “Sub-circuits of a gene regulatory network control a developmental epithelial-mesenchymal transition.Development (Cambridge, England) 141, no. 7 (April 2014): 1503–13. https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.101436. Full Text

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Selected Grants

Live cell widefield fluorescence microscope with activation and bleaching lasers awarded by National Institutes of Health (Major User). 2010 to 2011

Germ Layer Specification awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1999 to 2008

Neural Tube Defects awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2001 to 2007

BMP signaling in mammalian neural tube development awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2001 to 2004

Role of p38 in Patterning of Sea Urchin Embryos awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2002 to 2004

Sea Urchin Developmental Biology Conference XIV awarded by Public Health Service (Principal Investigator). 2002 to 2003

Embryonic Cell Recognition: Specificity Determinants awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1980 to 2000

Embryonic Cell Recognition: Specificity Determinants awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1980 to 2000

Organization And Function Of Cellular Structure awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1996 to 1999

Organization And Function Of Cellular Structures awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1995 to 1999

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