Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Daniel Wagner

Associate Professor in BioSciences

My laboratory investigates the function of essential elements required to execute vertebrate morphogenetic programs. Morphogenesis is a collective term for the processes by which cells move and change shape to transform the relatively featureless blastoderm into a recognizable vertebrate embryo. While the mechanisms of embryonic patterning have been investigated in some detail, morphogenesis remains poorly understood. To investigate vertebrate morphogenetic movements we analyze early development of the zebrafish, Danio rerio. The zebrafish embryo provides an excellent model for studying morphogenesis since they are optically transparent, develop rapidly and mutants have been identified that display defective morphogenetic movements.Wagner's Research In previous work I identified several mutants that are defective in epiboly movements and one mutant defective in anterior morphogenesis. We are now using these mutants to dissect morphogenetic movements. We are applying genetic, molecular and embryological approaches to determine the precise nature of the mutations and the morphogenetic defects we observe. Our immediate goals are to identify the genes encoded by the mutant loci and to determine in detail the defects that result from these mutations. By coupling the molecular identity of the mutants with their specific defects we will gain deep insight into the mechanisms of vertebrate morphogenesis.

Pubmed Search for articles by D Wagner

Select Publications

Masiello CA, Chen Y, Gao X, Liu S, Cheng HY, Bennett MR, Rudgers JA, Wagner DS, Zygourakis K, Silberg JJ Biochar and microbial signaling: production conditions determine effects on microbial communication.  Environ Sci Technol 2013: es401458s

G. de la Garza, J.R. Schleiffarth, M. Dunnwald, A. Mankad, J. L. Weirather, G.Bonde, S. Butcher, T.A. Mansour, Y. Koussa, C. F. Fukazawa, , D.W. Houston, J. Manak, , B. C Schutte, D.S. Wagner, R.A. Cornell Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 Promotes Differentiation Of The Periderm By Activation Of grainyhead-like 3.  Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 133 2013: 68-77

Lukianova-Hleb EY, Wagner DS, Brenner MK, Lapotko DO. Cell-specific transmembrane injection of molecular cargo with gold nanoparticle-generated transient plasmonic nanobubbles. .  Biomaterials , 33(21) 2012: 5441-50

Lukianova-Hleb EY, Ren X, Constantinou PE, Danysh BP, Shenefelt DL, Carson DD, Farach-Carson MC, Kulchitsky VA, Wu X, Wagner DS, Lapotko DO Improved Cellular Specificity Of Plasmonic Nanobubbles Versus Nanoparticles In Heterogeneous Cell Systems.  PLoS One , 7(4) 2012: e34537

de la Garza G, Schleiffarth JR, Dunnwald M, Mankad A, Weirather JL, Bonde G, Butcher S, Mansour TA, Kousa YA, Fukazawa CF, Houston DW, Robert Manak J, Schutte BC, Wagner DS, Cornell RA. Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 Promotes Differentiation of the Periderm by Activating Expression of Grainyhead-Like 3 .  J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Nov 29 [Epub ahead of print]

Miller R, Gomez de la Torre Canny S, Jang CW, Cho KH, Wagner DS, Jones E, Habas R, McCrea P Daam1 Mediated PCP Signaling Regulates Pronephric Kidney Tubule Morphogenesis.  of the American Society of Nephology, 9 2011: 1654-64

Lukianova-Hleb, E., Santiago, C., Wagner, D.S., Hafner, J., and Lapotko, D. Generation and detection of plasmonic nanobubbles in zebrafish.  Nanotechnology, 21 2010: 225102

Holloway, B.A., Gomez de la Torre Canny, S., Ye, Y., Slusarski, D.C., Freisinger, C.M., Dosch, R., Chou, M.M., Wagner, D.S., and Mullins, M.C. A novel role for MAPKAPK2 in morphogenesis during zebrafish development.  PLoS Genetics, 5 2009: e1000413

Holterhoff, C.K., Saunders, R.H., Brito, E.E., and Wagner, D.S. Sequence and expression of the zebrafish alpha-actinin gene family reveals conservation and diversification among vertebrates.  Developmental Dynamics, 238 2009: 2936-2947

Birely, J., Schneider, V.A., Santana, E., Dosch, R., Wagner, D.S., Mullins, M.C., and Granato, M. Genetic screens for genes controlling motor nerve-muscle development and interactions.  Developmental Biology, 280 2005: 162-176

Panzer, J.A., Gibbs, S.M., Dosch, R., Wagner, D., Mullins, M.C., Granato, M., and Balice-Gordon, R.J. Neuromuscular synaptogenesis in wild-type and mutant zebrafish.  Developmental Biology, 285 2005: 340-357

Wagner, D.S., Dosch, R., Mintzer, K.A., Wiemelt, A.P., and Mullins, M.C. Maternal control of vertebrate development at the midblastula transition and beyond: Mutants from the zebrafish II.  Developmental Cell, 6 2004: 781-790

Dosch, R., Wagner, D.S., Mintzer, K.A., Runke, G., Wiemelt, A.P., and Mullins, M.C. Maternal control of vertebrate development before the midblastula transition: Mutants from the zebrafish I.  Developmental Cell, 6 2004: 771-780

Conejo-Garcia, J.R, Benencia, F., Courreges, M.-C., Kang, E., Mohamed-Hadley, A., Buckanovich, R.J, Holtz, D.O, Jenkins, A., Na, H., Zhang, L., Wagner, D.S, Katsaros, D., Caroll, R., and Coukos, G. Tumor-infiltrating dendritic cell precursors recruited by a beta-defensin contribute to vasculogenesis under the influence of Vegf-A.  Nature Medicine, 10 2004: 950-958

Kramer, C., Mayr, T., Nowak, M., Schumacher, J., Runke, G., Bauer, H., Wagner, D.S., Schmid, B., Imai, Y., Talbot, W., Mullins, M.C., and Hammerschmidt, M. Maternally supplied Smad5 is required for ventral specification in zebrafish embryos prior to zygotic BMP signaling.  Develop. Biol., 250 2002: 263-279

Wagner, D.S., Dosch, R., Mintzer, K.A., Wiemelt, A.P., and Mullins, M.C. Modulation of BMP activity in dorsal-ventral pattern formation by the chordin and ogon antagonists.  Develop. Biol., 245 2002: 109-123

Farber, S.A., Pack, M., Ho, S.Y., Johnson, I.D., Wagner, D.S., Dosch, R., Mullins, M.C., Hendrickson, H.S., Hendrickson, E.K., and Halpern, M.E. Genetic analysis of digestive physiology using fluorescent phospholipid reporter.  Science, 292 2001: 1385-1388

Brown, D., Wagner, D., Li, X., Richardson, J.A., and Olson, E.N. Dual role of the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor scleraxis in mesoderm formation and chondrogenesis during mouse embryogenesis.  Development, 126 1999: 4317-4329

Wagner, D.S., Gan, L., and Klein, W.H. Identification of a differentially expressed RNA helicase by gene trapping.  Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 262 1999: 677-684

Wagner, D.S., Gan, L., and Klein, W.H. Expression of a gene trap reporter construct in a subset of cells in embryonic sites of hemotopoiesis: Evidence for alternative rRNA production in hematopoietic cells.  . Biophys. Res. Comm., 250 1998: 674-681

Xiang, M., Gan, G., Li, D., Zhou, L., Chen, Z., Wagner, D., O'Malley, B., Klein, W., and Nathans, J. Role of the Brn-3 family of POU-domain genes in the development of the auditory/vestibular, somatosensory, and visual systems.  Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology 1997

Myer, A., Wagner, D.S., Vivian, J.L., Olson, E.N., and Klein, W.H. Wild-type myoblasts rescue the ability of myogenin-null myoblasts to fuse in vivo.  Develop. Biol, 185 1997: 127-138

Gan, L., Xiang, M., Zhou, L., Wagner, D.S., Klein, W.H., and Nathans, J. POU domain factor Brn-3b is required for the development of a large set of retinal ganglion cells.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 93 1996: 3920-3925

Montes de Oca Luna, R., Wagner, D.S., and Lozano, G. Rescue of early embryonic lethality in mdm2-deficient mice by deletion of p53.  Nature, 378 1995: 203-206

S Hirota, T.P. Clements, L.K. Tang, J.E. Morales, H.S. Lee, S.P. Oh, G.M. Rivera, D.S. Wagner, J.H. McCarty 2015 Neuropilin-1 balances β8 integrin-activated TGFβ signaling to control sprouting angiogenesis in the brain. Development 142(24):4363-73. PMCID: PMC4689212 

  • B.A. Biochemistry (1990) University of Texas
  • Ph.D. Genes and Development Program (1997) University of Texas Health Science Center
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
Research Areas
  • Analysis of development of the zebrafish embryo to understand the genetic basis of cell differentiation and cell behavior. Our work examines the genetic regulation of diverse developmental events including epidermal differentiation, angiogenesis and post transcriptional regulation in the teleost yolk cell. This work is directed at understanding essential processes that are misregulated in human disease as well as the evolutionary plasticity that drive diversity.
Professional Experience
  • Post-doctoral Fellow
    University of Pennsylvania Medical School
  • Teaching Assistant
    Marine Biological Laboratory
  • Assistant Professor
    Rice University
Contact Information
Email: dswagner@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-5933
Office: Anderson Biological Labs, 338