Laura E. Lillien, PhD

Associate Professor, Neurobiology


W1454 Biomedical Science Tower
F: 412-648-1441


PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison (1985)


CNS stem cells.

Research Summary

The research in Dr. Lillien's laboratory addresses the mechanisms that regulate proliferation, cell fate determination, and migration in the developing cerebral cortex and retina. Environmental signals and intrinsic differences among progenitor cells contribute to the regulation of these processes, and their relative contributions are studied by using retrovirus mediated gene transfer. We are particularly interested in defining the molecular basis of intrinsic differences among neural stem cells. This information will facilitate the design of stem cells that are optimal for specific clinical applications.

Students in Dr. Lillien's laboratory will have the opportunity to construct recombinant retroviruses expressing wild type and mutant genes, infect progenitor cells in the cortex or retina of rats and mice in vitro and in vivo with these viruses, generate genetically engineered CNS stem cells and transplant them into embryonic and postnatal forebrain.


Akt1 interacts with epidermal growth factor receptors and hedgehog signaling to increase stem/transit amplifying cells in the embryonic mouse cortex. Sinor-Anderson A, Lillien L. Dev Neurobiol. 2011 Feb 10. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20878.