Samantha Brugmann-Professor

The Brugmann Lab studies craniofacial development and disease with a special emphasis on neural crest stem cells, primary cilia and hedgehog signalling. We use avian, murine and human iPSC models to elucidate the molecular mechanism at play during development and disease. In addition to running the lab, Sam serves as Co-Director of the Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program and Associate Director of the Division of Developmental Biology.

Ching-Fang Chang-Senior Research Associate

Ching studies mechanisms of Hh signaling and how loss of primary cilia impacts craniofacial development and Hh signal transduction. She works with murine, avian and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to find Hh-mediated therapies for the alleviation of ciliopathic phenotypes.

Evan Brooks- Graduate Student

Evan studies the molecular signals that drive neural crest stem cell (NCSC) differentiation into skeletal tissues. He uses both avian and murine models to determine how the loss of cilia can impact NCSC fate choices.

Kari Brown-Research Assistant IV

Kari focuses on culturing and differentiating patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into neural crest stem cells (NCSC). NCSC are then challenged to differentiate into both ectomesenchymal and non-ectomesenchymal derivatives in hopes of identifying the pathology behind patient phenotypes.

Simon Han- Graduate Student (MSTP)

Simon Han-Graduate Student (MSTP)

Simon studies the molecular signals that convey pleistopotency upon neural crest stem cells (NCSC). He utilizes murine and avian model systems to determine the mechanisms that establish potency as well as those that induce differentiation.

Yanfen Yang-Senior Research Assistant

Yanfen manages and characterizes several transgenic murine lines with Hedgehog and ciliary variants. She also studies neural crest stem cell (NCSC) differentiation into skeletal and connective tissues.

Lylyan Pimentel-Research Associate

Lylyan works to uncover and characterize novel disease causing variants in human patients who have craniofacial differences. Using WES and WGS she aims to first identify variants and then study the impact these variants have on neural crest stem cell induction, migration and differentiation.

Kim Cochran-Research Assistant II

Kim assists with the husbandry and characterization of several transgenic murine lines with Hedgehog and ciliary variants. She also works to understand the impact gene variations have on the ability of neural crest stem cell (NCSC) to differentiation into skeletal and connective tissues.

Lab Alumni

Elizabeth (Betsy) Schock

Betsy moved to Northwestern University in 2017 and joined the LaBonne lab for her postdoctoral fellowship. Her current research using frogs focuses on understanding the stem cell properties of neural crest cells, the progenitors of the facial skeleton.

Kelsey Elliott

Kelsey moved to the University of Southern California in 2020 and joined the Crump lab for her postdoctoral fellowship. Her current research focuses on understanding the gene regulatory networks that drive neural crest stem cell differentiation into various types of cartilage.

Grethel Millington

Grethel moved to UCONN Dental School 2017. She now has her DMD and is a Dentistry Practitioner.

Jaime Struve

Jaime joined the Division of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology as a Clinical Research Coordinator III in 2022.

Megan Aarnio-Peterson

Megan joined Sangamo Therapuetics as a Global Clinical Trial Manager in 2020.

Christian Bonatto-Paese

Chris joined the Allen Institute as a Scientist II for the Mindscope program in 2023.

Anne Carroll

Anne joined the Biomedical Sciences PhD program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2021.

Sai Balchand

Sai joined the Division of Infectious Disease as a Research Associate in 2020.

Jen Hawkins

Jen joined the Division Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition as a Clinical Research Coordinator in 2020.