Charles J. Billington, Jr.


     Year Entered: 2006

     Degrees Received:
     Yale University
     History/Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
     B.S., 2004

     University of Minnesota
     Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics Graduate
     Ph.D., 2012

     Honors and Awards:
     -Musculoskeletal Biology Training Grant fellowship, 2008-2011
     -Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training (MinnCResT) Program
     fellowship 2011-2012
     -Second Place Awardee, AADR/Johnson and Johnson Hatton
                                                                               Award. AADR annual meeting, March 2011.

Thesis Advisors:  Anna Petryk, M.D., and Michael O'Connor Ph.D.

Thesis Research: My research focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of altered craniofacial development and on the phenotypic variability this process. We use a mouse model in which the gene Twisted gastrulation has been mutated yielding with a range of defects from unaffected to very profoundly affected, including severe defects like holoprosencephaly and cyclopia. We have uncovered a role for p53 mediated apoptosis of neural crest cell in mediating these defects as well as a set of gene regulatory changes that correlate closely with the observed phenotype at an embryonic stage. We are currently interested in the role of environmental exposures including retinoids, iron and folate in modulating the phenotypes we observe.

Publications (pubmed):

Billington CJ Jr, Fiebig JE, Forsman CL, Pham L, Burbach N, Sun M, Jaskoll T, Mansky K, Gopalakrishnan R, O'Connor MB, Mueller TD, Petryk A. Glycosylation of Twisted Gastrulation is Required for BMP Binding and Activity during Craniofacial Development. Front Physiol. 2011;2:59.

Billington CJ Jr, Ng B, Forsman C, Schmidt B, Bagchi A, Symer DE, Schotta G, Gopalakrishnan R, Sarver AL, Petryk A. The molecular and cellular basis of variable craniofacial phenotypes and their genetic rescue in Twisted gastrulation mutant mice. Dev Biol. 2011 Jul 1;355(1):21-31.

Jensen ED, Pham L, Billington CJ Jr, Espe K, Carlson AE, Westendorf JJ, Petryk A, Gopalakrishnan R, Mansky K. Bone morphogenic protein 2 directly enhances differentiation of murine osteoclast precursors. J Cell Biochem. 2010;109(4):672-682.

Person AD, Beiraghi S, Sieben CM, Hermanson S, Neumann AB, Robu ME, Schleiffarth JR, Billington CJ Jr, van Bokhoven H, Hoogeboom J, Mazzeu JF, Petryk A, Schimmenti LA, Brunner HG, Ekker SC, Lohr JL .WNT5A mutations in patients with autosomal Dominant Robinow Syndrome. Dev Dynamics. 2010 Jan;239(1):327-37.

MacKenzie B, Wolff R,  LoweN, Billington CJ Jr, Peterson A,  Schmidt B, Graf D, Mina M, Gopalakrishnan R, Petryk A. Twisted gastrulation limits apoptosis in the distal region of the mandibular arch in mice. Dev Biol. 2009;328:13-23.

Ghatpande SK, Billington CJ Jr, Rivkees SA, Wendler CC. Hypoxia induces cardiac malformations via A1 adenosine receptor activation in chicken embryos. Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 2008;82:121-130.

Zhang Y, Billington CJ Jr, Pan D, Neufeld TP. Drosophila target of rapamycin kinase functions as a multimer. Genetics. 2006;172:355-362.