Research tools We use a multi-pronged approach to investigate the mechanisms that generate functional and cellular complexity in the vertebrate head.  Our primary research tool is the genetically-engineered mouse.  We use various mouse lines harboring conditional and mutant alleles for a myriad of transcription factors and signaling molecules, Cre and inducible-Cre recombinases, and GFP reporters.  To analyze the phenotypes associated with genetically-manipulated mice, we use confocal microscopy, micro-computed tomography, basic histology, the neurosphere assay, and basic biochemical and genomic assays, to name just a few.   

Current Members

Gary O. Gaufo - Principal Investigator

    UTSA Associate Professor, 2012-present

    UTHSCSA Adjunct Professor, 2011-present

    UTSA Assistant Professor, 2005-2011

    HHMI Postdoctoral Fellow 1997-2004, Mentor - Mario R. Capecchi

    UC San Francisco Postdoctoral Fellow 1995-1997, Mentor - Edward G. Goetzl

    UC Berkeley PhD 1990-1995, Mentor - Marian C. Diamond

Meizhen Chen - Postdoctoral Fellow

Ruru Chen - Postdoctoral Fellow

Oscar Trevino - Research Assistant

Angela Huang - Research Assistant/Laboratory Manager

Former Members

Masumi Takano-Maruyama - Postdoctoral Fellow

Karen Kao - Research Assistant


NIH-NINDS_R01 2011-15, “Morphogen-dependent regulation of motor neurogenesis along the AP axis”

NIH-NINDS_U54 2008-13, “Origin and regulation of motor neuron identity in the hindbrain”

NIH-NIA _R01 2010-12, “Role of Mrg15 in chromatin changes during cell senescence and in vivo aging”

Whitehall Foundation 2006-09, “Segmental mechanisms of neural circuit assembly”


Chen Y, Moon AM, Gaufo GO (2012). Influence of mesodermal Fgf8 on the differentiation of neural crest-derived postganglionic neurons. Dev Biol 361:125-36.

Takano-Maruyama M, Chen Y, Gaufo GO (2012). Differential contribution of Neurog1 and Neurog2 on the formation of cranial ganglia along the anterior-posterior axis. Dev Dyn [Epub ahead of print].

Chen Y, Takano-Maruyama M, Gaufo GO (2011). Plasticity of neural crest-placode interaction in the developing visceral nervous system. Dev Dyn 240:1880-8.

Takano-Maruyama M, Chen Y, Gaufo GO (2010). Placodal sensory ganglia coordinate the formation of the cranial visceral motor pathway. Dev Dyn 239:1155-61.

Chen M, Takano-Maruyama M, Pereira-Smith OM, Gaufo GO, Tominaga K (2009). MRG15, a component of HAT and HDAC complexes, is essential for proliferation and differentiation of neural precursor cells. J Neurosci Res 87:1522-31.

Arenkiel BR, Tvrdik P, Gaufo GO, Capecchi MR (2004). Hoxb1 functions in both motoneurons and target tissues to establish and maintain proper neuronal circuitry. Genes & Dev 18:1539-52.

Gaufo GO, Wu, S, Capecchi MR (2004). Contribution of Hox genes to the diversity of the hindbrain sensory system. Development 131:1259-66.

Gaufo GO, Thomas KR, Capecchi MR (2003). Hox3 genes coordinate mechanisms of genetic suppression and activation in the generation of branchial and somatic motoneurons. Development 130: 5191-5201.

Arenkiel B, Gaufo GO, Capecchi MR (2003). Hoxb1 neural crest preferentially form glia in the PNS. Dev Dyn 227:379-386.

Gaufo GO, Flodby P, Capecchi MR (2000). Hoxb1 controls sonic hedgehog and Mash1 signaling pathways. Development 127:5343-5354.

Related Weblinks

UTSA Department of Biology

UTSA Neurosciences Institute