Research overview

Kristen L. Kroll, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Developmental Biology

Developmental, Regenerative, and Stem Cell Biology Program, Molecular Cell Biology Program, Neuroscience Program 

Affiliated with Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC),  Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS), Hope Center for Neurological Disorders (Hope Center), Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM). 

Our research focuses on defining gene regulatory networks that control neural cell specification, neurogenesis, and the generation of specific neuronal cell types. We are interested in understanding how epigenetic regulation modulates these networks and how their dysregulation contributes to neurodevelopmental disorders including epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability syndromes. This work uses directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells), mouse models, and a wide range of cellular, molecular, and genomic approaches, to define roles for transcriptional and epigenetic regulation in shaping developmental transitions.

The lab has three main research interests, outlined below:

  1. Modeling Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived-Neurons and Organoids.
  2. Modeling Human Cortical Interneuron Development and Its Dysregulation in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
  3. Gene Regulatory Networks That Regulate Neural Cell Fate Acquisition.

For more information see Research

Lab News

December 2019

Our latest paper was accepted for publication in Molecular Autism. Emily and Kesav are co-first authors and this work was performed in collaboration with Dr. John Constantino and the WashU IDDRC. We used iPSCs derived from members of a multiplex autism family to investigate cellular and molecular correlates of affectation.

October 2019

Emily attended the Cell Symposium: Transcriptional Regulation in Evolution, Development, and Disease in Chicago. She presented a poster on her work on the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of human cortical interneuron development.

April 2019

Emily and Kesav presented their research involving human cellular modeling of multiplex autism at the Developmental Biology Department retreat in Cedar Creek, MO

March 2019

Kris presented a research talk at the CNS Neuroregeneration Strategies: Discovery and Implementation Symposium, Houston, TX, March 6-8, 2019.

August 2018

Graduate student Emily Lewis received the Irving Boime Graduate Student Fellowship. We thank Dr. Boime for his continued support of graduate training in the Developmental Biology department.