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Biology

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Kenneth Wallace
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
165 Science Center
Clarkson University
PO Box 5805
Potsdam, NY 13699-5805
E-mail: kwallace@clarkson.edu
Phone: 315-268-4498
Fax: 315-268-7118

Education
B.S., University of Rochester, Molecular Genetics, Rochester, NY (1991)
Ph.D., Ohio State University- Molecular Genetics, Columbus, OH (1998)
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA (2003)

Courses Taught

  • BY350 Comparative Anatomy
  • BY352 Vertebrate Anatomy Lab
  • BY310/510  Developmental Biology
  • BY482/682 Molecular Genetics
  • BY300/622  Advances in Biology Research
  • BY405 Undergraduate Research


Research Interests
My research focuses on migration and differentiation of neurons that populate the intestine as well as development of smooth muscle, which is responsible for mixing and propulsive activity.  I use zebrafish, which is an excellent model research organism.  Transparent zebrafish embryos develop externally over the course of five days.  At the end of embryogenesis there is a similar arrangement of digestive organs and cell types when compared to humans.  Zebrafish embryos also have extensive similarities to the genetics and physiology of human organ development with broad implications for human development and disease states.

Development of the vertebrate enteric nervous system
I have been concentrating on 1.) understanding how the enteric neural system develops; 2.) determining the role of  genes involved in differentiating enteric neurons, smooth muscle, and enteroendocrine cells within the intestinal epithelium.  I am concentrating on four interrelated topics in my research.

Development and manipulation of the serotonin signaling system within the intestine.  Mechanical and chemical stimulation of intestinal epithelial cells generates a serotonin signal from epithelial endocrine cells.  Serotonin binds to receptors on nearby enteric neurons to induce luminal chloride release and as a result secretion of fluids.  Intestinal motility is also altered.  The objective is to determine how this system develops and operates in zebrafish embryos.

To investigate these topics, I am using mutant analysis, molecular biology techniques, histology, immunohistochemistry, RNA in situ hybridization, and antisense technology to knock down gene function in developing embryos. Each of these techniques is a powerful tool to identify molecular pathways involved in enteric neural development and function.


Publications (last 5 years)
(* denotes undergraduate co-author)

Olden, T.*, Akhtar, T., Beckman, S.A.*, and Wallace, K.N. (2008) Differentiation of the zebrafish enteric nervous system and intestinal smooth muscle.  Genesis. 46(9): 484-498.

Wallace KN, Akhtar, T., Yerry, R*. "Zebrafish homologue of FKBP65 plays a role in intestinal smooth muscle differentiation." Society of Developmental Biology. 67th Annual meeting, Philadelphia, PA, 2008 Abstract published in Developmental Biology (2008) 319 (2): 608.

Ispas, C., Wallace, KN, and Andreescu, S., "Cytotoxicty studies of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles using zebrafish  embryos as model toxicological target." 236 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Philadelphia, PA, 2008.  Abstract published in Papers of the American Chemical Society (2008) 236.

Ispas, C, Andreescu, D., Patel, A.*, Goia, D.V., Andreescu, ES, Wallace K.N.  (2009) Toxicity and developmental defects of different sizes and shape nickel nanoparticles in zebrafish. Environmental Science and Technology, 43(16): 6349-6356.

Akhtar, T., Li, J., Olden, T.*, and Wallace, K.N. (2009) Use of Phospholipase A2 for  antigen retrieval in zebrafish whole mount immunohistochemistry. Zebrafish, 6(3): 223-227.

Njagi, J, Ball, M.*, Best, M.*,  Wallace, K.N., and Andreescu, E.S. (2010) Electrochemical quantification of serotonin in the embryonic zebrafish intestine. Analytical Chemistry, 82(5): 1822-1830.

Ozel, R.E., Wallace, K.N., Andreescu S. (2011) Chitosan coated carbon fiber microelectrode for selective in vivo detection of neurotransmitters.  Analytica Chimica Acta, 695 (1-2): 89-95.

Wallace, K.N. Fish digestive development. (2011) Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology. Eds. Farrell, T and Stevens, D., Elsevier.

Andreescu S., Gheorghiu, M, Ozel, R.E., Wallace, K.N. (2011) Mehodologies for Toxicity Monitoring and Nanotechnology Risk Assessment.  Biotechnology and Nanotechnology Risk Assessment. Ed. Ripp, , ACS Books.

Undergraduates in Lab (Last three years)

2010

  1. Gillian Roach, Ronal McNair Program, project titled “ Identification of defects in enteric neural development due to flotte latte mutants.” 
  2. Marc Best, Ronald McNair Program, project titled “Identification of components of  intestinal serotonin signaling.”
  3. Nathaniel Hebert, Clarkson School- CSTEP program, “Identification of enteric neuronal defects generated by KOO1 antisense “knock-down” of protein expression.” 
  4. Michael Deihl, project titled “Development of serotonin enteroendocrine cells in the zebrafish intestine.”
  5. Luke Cholhan, project titled” Identification of enteric  neuronal defects generated by KOO1antisense “knock-down” of protein expression.” 

2011

  1. Amy Cameron, “Use of the Volumetry program to identify changes in zebrafish intestinal motility.”
  2. Marc Best, Ronald McNair Program, project titled “Identification of components of intestinal serotonin signaling.”
  3. Caitlin Mincer, Ronald McNair Program, project titled “Expression patterns of positive and negative basic helix loop helix transcription factors within the embryonic zebrafish intestine.” 
  4. Matthew Hadfield, project titled “Expression patterns of positive and negative basic helix loop helix transcription factors within the embryonic zebrafish intestine.”
  5. Gwendolyn Burkey, project titled “Expression patterns of positive and negative basic helix loop helix transcription factors within the embryonic zebrafish intestine.”

2012

  1. Aisha Wood, Ronald McNair Program, project “Expression patterns of positive and negative basic helix loop helix transcription factors within the embryonic zebrafish intestine.”
  2. Caitlin Mincer, Ronald McNair Program, project titled “Expression patterns of Notch signaling pathway genes within the embryonic zebrafish intestine.” 
  3. Rachel Simons, project titled “Expression patterns of the 5HT4 receptor within the embryonic zebrafish intestine.” 
  4. Patricia Buetel, Ronald McNair Program, project titled  “Expression patterns of Notch signaling pathway genes within the embryonic zebrafish intestine.”
  5. Zachary Rodriguez, CSTEP Scholar, project titled “Expression patterns of Notch signaling pathway genes within the embryonic zebrafish intestine and analysis of motility defects.”
  6. Page Mackillop, Ronald McNair Program, project titled  “Expression patterns of Notch signaling pathway genes within the embryonic zebrafish intestine and analysis of motility defects.”