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John B Wallingford

Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences

Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Doherty, Jr. Regents Chair in Molecular Biology (Holder)

We combine in vivo imaging with systems biology to explore the cell biological basis of embryonic development


Phone: 512-232-2784

Office Location
PAT 222

A major challenge in biology is to understand how form and function arise in developing embryos. The complex tissue rearrangements that assemble embryos are directed by patterned gene expression and are executed by specialized cell behaviors, so our lab seeks to understand the mechanisms linking systems-level programs of gene expression to discrete cell biological processes in vivo.

To this end, we have adopted an multi-tiered approach that combines systems biology and bioinformatics with novel strategies for in vivo imaging in Xenopus, zebrafish and mice.


Current work focuses on:

~Planar cell polarity (PCP) and actomyosin dynamics during collective cell movement

~Liquid-like organelles and their role in ciliated cells

~Mechanisms of ciliopathic birth defects

~Exploiting evolution to advance cell biology and drug discovery


Ultimately, these studies will shed light on the genetics and cell biology of human birth defects.

 A full list of publications is here:


Selected recent publications:

Huizar, Lee et al.  2018. A liquid-like organelle at the root of motile ciliopathy. eLife e38497. 

Butler and Wallingford.  2018.  Spatial and temporal analysis of PCP protein localization during neural tube closure. eLife e36456. 

Tu et al. 2018. Protein localization screening in vivo reveals novel regulators of multiciliated cell development and function. J Cell Sci. 131, doi: 10.1242/jcs.206565.

Drew et al. 2017.  Integration of over 9000 mass spectroscopy experiments build a global map of human protein complexes Molecular Systems Biology13, 932. 

Butler & Wallingford 2017.  Planar cell polarity in development and disease Nature Reviews MCB. 18, 375-388.  

Tabler, Rigney et al. 2017.  Cilia-mediated Hedgehog signaling controls form and function in the mammalian larynx.  eLife e19153. 

Khokha et al. 2017.  An opportunity to address the genetic causes of birth defects Pediatric Researc. 81, 282-285.

Session et al. 2016.  Genome evolution in the allotetraploid frog Xenopus laevis.  Nature 538 336-343.

Sedzinski et al.  2016.  Emergence of an apical epithelial cell surface in vivo.  Developmental Cell 36, 24-35.  2015 

Wan et al. 2015.  Panorama of ancient macromolecular complexes.  Nature 525, 339-344.

Shindo and Wallingford.  2014.  PCP and septins compartmentalize cortical actomyosin to direct collective cell movement. Science 343, 649-652.