Barr, Maureen M.
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1995
Professional Summary/CV [.PDF]
Department of Genetics, School of Arts and Sciences, New Brunswick; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Behavioral Genetics, Neurobiology, Polycystic Kidney Disease.
Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Developmental Neuroscience, Genetics and Pharmacogenomics.
Memberships and Professional Service
Genetics Service Course Committee, Rutgers Universit, 2007-present; Dean Ambarís Faculty Advisory Board, Douglass Project, Rutgers University, 2007-present; Member: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Cell Biology, American Society of Nephrology, Genetics Society of America, Society for Neuroscience, National Kidney Foundation.
Grants, Honors, and Awards
Principal Investigator, NIH, "A model for Nephronophthisis in C. elegans," 2006-2009; Principal Investigator, PKD Foundation, "A novel PKD gene in C. elegans," 2006-2007; Teacher of the Year, 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy Program, 2005-2006; Rho Chi Society (American Honor Society of Pharmacy), 2003; Pew Scholar Nominee, University of Wisconsin, 2003; Principal Investigator, NIH, "A model for Polycystic Kidney Disease in C. elegans," 2001-2011; Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellow, 1995-2000; NIH Genetics and Development Training Grant, 1990-1993.
Academic Interests and Plans
The Barr laboratory is interested two seemingly unrelated questions in biology: the generation of sexual identity and the molecular basis of human genetic diseases of cilia. In particular, we study male mating behavior and ciliary specialization in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. My laboratory currently uses several approaches to study animal physiology and behavior, including dissection of neural circuits, the identification of genes required for nervous system development and function, and in vivo imaging of neuronal protein trafficking. Chemical genetics and electrophysiology are being explored.
Several human genetic disorders, including autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), autosomal recessive PKD, Nephronophthisis (NPHP), Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS) and Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) share two common features: ciliary localized gene products and kidney cysts. Given that it is prohibitively difficult in humans to study the connection between cilioprotein function, localization, and disease, alternative experimental systems are necessary. In C. elegans it is feasible to study how human disease gene orthologs affect cilia formation, morphogenesis, and signaling. The Barr laboratory has well-established C. elegans models for ADPKD and NPHP, and is currently developing a worm model for MKS, the leading syndromic cause of neural tube defects in humans. Results of our studies will broaden our understanding of how cilia develop, form, and function in normal and pathological states and provide new insight into the molecular basis of human ciliopathies.