Developmental Neurobiology

Research in the Developmental Neurobiology Laboratory, led by Dr. Herbert M. Geller, focuses on understanding the mechanisms that control axonal growth and pathfinding during neural development and also the mechanisms that stimulate regeneration after injury to the brain or spinal cord.

Herbert Geller

Senior Investigator Research Interests

Research Interests

Research in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, headed by Dr. Herbert Geller, is focused on understanding how extracellular signals provide guidance cues to axons.  Our primary focus is on signals derived from the extracellular matrix, especially proteoglycans, as well as responses of growing neurons to biophysical properties of their environment, such as substrate stiffness.  Our overall goal is to improve recovery of function following brain or spinal cord injury.  This involves use of all methods of modern biology, including light and electron microscopy, including multi-photon and superresolution microscopy, cell biology, including proteomics, constrol of gene expression using CRISPR/Cas systems, and animal models.

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Western Blotting for Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans

This protocol was developed by Dr. Panpan Yu, Associate Professor, Guangdong–Hongkong–Macau Institute of CNS Regeneration, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China when she was a Research Fellow in the lab.  Please contact her at: yupanpan21@gmail.commailto: for further help.

  1. Protein samples are separated by SDS-PAGE on a 6% polyacrylamide gel under reducing conditions.

  2. Electroblot the SDS-PAGE-separated samples onto the PVDF membrane using semi-dry or wet transfer device. (Note: Reduce the methanol concentration in transfer buffer to 10 % instead of 20%, to facilitate transfer of high molecular weight proteins such as CSPGs).

  3. Block the membrane in blocking buffer (5% milk in PBS-Tween) at room temperature for 1 h or overnight at 4°C on the shaker.

  4. Incubate the membrane overnight at 4°C on the shaker with primary antibody CS-56 (1:500, Sigma) diluted in 5% milk in PBS-Tween; incubate for additional 2 h the following day at room temperature.

  5. Wash the membrane 3 times for 10 min each with PBS-Tween.

  6. Incubate the membrane with HRP-conjugated goat anti-mouse IgM secondary antibody at room temperature for 35 min.

  7. Wash the membrane 6 times for 5 min each with PBS-Tween.

  8. Detect the signals using chemiluminescent methods. (Note: use high sensitive chemiluminescent reagents)

Meet the Team

Herbert Geller

Herbert Geller, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Herbert Geller graduated with a Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and was Postdoctoral Fellow in Physiology at the University of Rochester. He was a Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Neurology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey before moving to NIH in 2001. Dr. Geller has authored or co-authored more than 150 papers, and he sits on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience and the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.  At NIH, he has been a mentor in the Biomedical Engineering Summer Internship Program.  His former trainees have gone onto careers in Academia, Industry and Government. Dr. Geller is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In 2018, Dr. Geller was awarded the Bernice Grafstein Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Mentoring from the Society for Neuroscience. 

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Caitlin Mencio

Caitlin Mencio, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow


Sanya Springfield, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
1981 - 1985
Sanya Springfield, Ph.D. is currently a Director at Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD.

Roseann Ventimiglia

Graduate Fellow
1984 - 1987
Roseann Ventimiglia is currently a medical communications professional at an independent communications firm in CT .

Jeremy P. Grierson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Instructor
1986 - 1989
Jeremy P. Grierson, Ph.D. is currently a Project Manager, Clinical Writing at Servier, Paris, France.

Douglas S. F. Ling, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
1985 - 1990
Douglas S. F. Ling, Ph.D. is currently a Associate Professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Robert E. Petroski, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
1985 - 1991
Robert E. Petroski, Ph.D. is currently a Scientific Liaison at Neuroservices Alliance, San Diego, CA..

Kevin D. Phelan, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
1989 - 1990
Kevin D. Phelan, Ph.D. is currently a Professor at University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences.

Vanya Quiñones, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
1988 - 1992
Vanya Quiñones, Ph.D. is currently a Provost at Pace University.

Smi Choi-Kwon, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
1989 - 1990
Smi Choi-Kwon, Ph.D. is currently a Dean at College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Korea.

Michael Saporito, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
0089 - 1991
Michael Saporito, Ph.D. is currently a Principal at Shaw's Bridge Advisors LLC.

Maria Marone, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
1991 - 1994
Maria Marone, Ph.D. is currently a Italian Teacher and Translator at Leiden, Provincie Zuid-Holland, Netherlands.

G. Stanley Okoye, M.D., Ph.D.

1991 - 1994
G. Stanley Okoye, M.D., Ph.D. is currently a Medical Director at St. Jude Eye Clinic & Skin Care, Brandon, FL.

Nicholas DiProspero, M.D., Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
1994 - 1997
Nicholas DiProspero, M.D., Ph.D. is currently a Senior Director, Translational Medicine at Johnson & Johnson, Raritan, NJ.

Erick J. Morris, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow, Postdoctoral Fellow
1992 - 1998
Erick J. Morris, Ph.D. is currently a Lab Head at Novartis Oncology Translational Research, Boston, MA.

Elizabeth M. Powell, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow, Postdoctoral Fellow
1993 - 1998
Elizabeth M. Powell, Ph.D. is currently a Program Director at National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Rockville, MD.

John C. Dreixler, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
1996 - 1998
John C. Dreixler, Ph.D. is currently a Research Associate, Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care at University of Chicago.

Mary Lynn Mercado, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
1998 - 2002
Mary Lynn Mercado, Ph.D. is currently a US Group Head Regulatory Medical Writing, Pharma at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Alex Romero, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
1998 - 2003
Alex Romero, Ph.D. is currently a Digital Health Innovation Specialist at Bayer Consumer Health Warren, NJ.

Stephane Gross, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
2000 - 2002
Stephane Gross, Ph.D. is currently a Lecturer in Cellular Biology, School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University Birmingham B4 7ET UK.

Hang Wang M. D., Ph.D.

Research Fellow
2001 - 2008
Hang Wang M. D., Ph.D. is currently a Psychiatrist at Adventist Behavioral Health, Rockville, MD.

Meredith Wagner

Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow
2002 - 2003
Meredith Wagner is currently a Pediatric Anesthesiologist at Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Wyckoff, NJ.

Keri Vartanian

Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow
2003 - 2004
Keri Vartanian is currently a Research Scientist at The Center for Outcomes Research and Education, Providence Health and Services.

Tracy Laabs, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
2003 - 2008
Tracy Laabs, Ph.D. is currently a Assistant Director at Wyss Center for Bio and Neuro-engineering, Geneva, Switzerland.

Cerise Elliott, Ph.D.

Technology Transfer Fellow
2004 - 2005
Cerise Elliott, Ph.D. is currently a Program Director at National Institute on Aging.

Thomas McCann

Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow
2005 - 2006
Thomas McCann is currently a Radiologist at Coastal Imaging, LLC, Toms River, NJ.

Thu-Trang Thach

Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow
2006 - 2008
Thu-Trang Thach is currently a Research Study Assistant at Brigham and Womens Hospital, Boston, MA.

Terri-Ann Natalie Kelly, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
2006 - 2009
Terri-Ann Natalie Kelly, Ph.D. is currently a Tissue Engineer at EpiBone, Inc.

Lizzie Santiago, Ph.D.

IRTA Fellow
2007 - 2008
Lizzie Santiago, Ph.D. is currently a Assistant Professor at West Virginia University School of Engineering..

Michael E. Zavaski

Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow
2008 - 2009
Michael E. Zavaski is currently a Urological Physician at Pioneer Valley Urology.

David Figge

Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow
2009 - 2010
David Figge is currently a MSTP Student at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Elisa Gutierrez

Postbaccalaureate IRTA
2008 - 2009
Elisa Gutierrez is currently a Family Medicine Physician at University of New Mexico.

Abigail Mabe Goosie, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow
2009 - 2009
Abigail Mabe Goosie, Ph.D. is currently a Associate Professor of Biology at Walters State Community College, TN.

Jae-Hyuk (John) Yi, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
2009 - 2012
Jae-Hyuk (John) Yi, Ph.D. is currently a Technical Consultant and BD Manager at MedClaris, Seoul, Korea.

Claire Liepmann

Postbaccalaureate Fellow
2010 - 2011
Claire Liepmann is currently a Pediatrics PGY-3 at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.

Radislav Junka

Postbaccalaureate Fellow
2011 - 2012
Radislav Junka is currently a Graduate Student at Princeton University.

Joshua Bangayan

Postbaccalaureate Fellow
2011 - 2012
Joshua Bangayan is currently a Graduate Student at UCLA.

Misha Smirnov

Graduate Student
2011 - 2014
Misha Smirnov is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

Panpan Yu, Ph.D.

Visiting Research Fellow
2009 - 2015
Panpan Yu, Ph.D. is currently a Associate Professor at Guangdong–Hongkong–Macau Institute of CNS Regeneration, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.

Ashlea Morgan

Postbaccalaureate Fellow
2013 - 2015
Ashlea Morgan is currently a Graduate Student at Columbia University.

Naijil George, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
2016 - 2017
Naijil George, Ph.D. is currently a Assistant Professor, Department of Biotechnology at St. Joseph's College, Irinjalakuda, India.

Sayuri Higashi

Visiting Graduate Fellow
2016 - 2017
Sayuri Higashi is currently a Graduate Student at Gifu University.

Craig Pearson, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
2014 - 2018
Craig Pearson, Ph.D. is currently a Medical Student at Washington University.

Chinyere Agbaebu Iweka, Ph.D.

Graduate Fellow
2013 - 2019
Chinyere Agbaebu Iweka, Ph.D. is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University.