Assistant Professor of Biology
(831) 655 6226
clowe at stanford dot edu
Professor Lowe received his PhD from SUNY Stony Brook in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. The Lowe Lab is broadly interested in the field of evolution and development, and more specifically the evolution of the deuterostomes. This major metazoan lineage is made up of four major groups; chordates, echinoderms, hemichordates, and Xenoturbellida . The early evolutionary history of the deuterostomes remains poorly understood and surprisingly even the evolutionary origins of our own phylum, the chordates, remains a major puzzle for zoologists. The work in the Lowe Lab attempts to make some headway in this area, and has focused on investigating the role of developmental genes that underlie these divergent body plans and morphologies in hemichordates and echinoderms.
The research focus in the lab has mainly been on the origins and early evolution of the vertebrate brain and central nervous system. While the brain is clearly a key innovation of our phylum, we understand very little about its evolutionary origins outside of the chordates. Much progress has been made in identifying the early molecular genetic program of brain patterning and morphogenesis in vertebrate model systems. However, gene interactions in vertebrate central nervous system development are themselves very complex: widespread duplication and expansion of developmental regulatory gene families have led to functional redundancy, making functional studies sometimes difficult to interpret. Lowe's lab have been developing the hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii as a less complex developmental model for addressing early evolution and origins of the vertebrate nervous system. Work based on this system can help establish the earliest, and most fundamental aspects of the molecular genetic networks that were involved in early brain evolution. This approach should not only help elucidate the early patterning events leading to chordate brain evolution, but also be generally informative about how conserved regulatory networks can generate such amazing neuroanatomical diversity during animal evolution.
Professor Lowe has been awarded fellowships from the Miller Institute for Basic Research and the Searle Scholars Program.
Lemons D, Fritzenwanker JH, Gerhart J, Lowe CJ, McGinnis W. 2010. Co-option of an anteroposterior head axis patterning system for proximodistal patterning of appendages in early bilaterian evolution. Developmental Biolology. IN PRESS.
Nomaksteinsky M, Röttinger E, Dufour HD, Chettouh Z, Lowe CJ, Martindale MQ, Brunet JF. 2009. Centralization of the Deuterostome Nervous System Predates Chordates. Current Biology. 19(15):1264-9.
Lowe C. J. 2008. Molecular genetic insights into deuterostome evolution from the direct-developing hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. B. 363(1496):1569-1578
Lowe C. J., Terasaki M., Wu, M., Freeman, R.M. Jr., Runft, L., Kwan, K., Haigo, S., Aronowicz, J., Lander E., Gruber, C., Smith, M., Kirschner, M., Gerhart, J. 2006. Dorsoventral patterning in hemichordates: insights into early chordate evolution. PLoS Biology. 4(9):e291
Bourlat SJ, Juliusdottir T, Lowe CJ, Freeman R, Aronowicz J, Kirschner M, Lander ES, Thorndyke M, Nakano H, Kohn AB, Heyland A, Moroz LL, Copley RR, Telford MJ. 2006. Dueterostome phylogeny reveals monophyletic chordates and the new phylum Xenoturbellida. Nature. 444(7115): 85-8.
Lowe C.J., Wu M, Salic, A., Evans, L., Lander E., Stange-Thomann, N., Gruber, C., Gerhart, J., Kirschner, M. 2003. Anteroposterior Patterning in Hemichordates and the Origins of the Chordate Nervous System. Cell. 113, 853-865.