Our research interests center on the neuroendocrine regulation of growth and metabolism. We have two major focuses in our research program. One major focus in our lab is the cellular differentiation of the anterior pituitary gland during embryonic development. Cell and molecular biology approaches are used to assess gene expression and hormone secretion from individual pituitary cells. These measurements of hormone production are made at specific stages of development or following experimental treatment of developing embryos or pituitary cells in culture. Our working model includes regulation by hormones from other endocrine glands as well as nuclear transcription factors and signal transduction cascades. Long-range goals of this project include defining the intracellular and extracellular regulation of pituitary cell differentiation during embryonic development. A second major focus in our lab is the global analysis of gene expression in the neuroendocrine system. High density cDNA microarrays, containing copies of more than 14,000 expressed genes have been developed to analyze levels of mRNA in chicken tissues. Rather than studying each gene, one at a time, this approach allows the study of all of the represented genes, simultaneously. These arrays represent more than half of the chicken genome. Individual microarrays are used with RNA samples isolated from animals at different stages of development or following experimental treatments. This project is aimed at identifying those genes involved in regulating growth and body composition in vertebrates.