Konstantinos Zarbalis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
UC Davis Medical Center
Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine
Shriners Hospitals for Children, Northern California
2425 Stockton Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95817
Ph: 916-453-2189
Fax: 916-453-2270

Our laboratory focuses on forebrain development with an emphasis on migration, differentiation, and connectivity of cortical neurons. Additional projects center on craniofacial development, including orofacial clefting and incomplete skull development for which relevant models are available. Among the most important tools in the analysis of developmental processes like growth, patterning, and differentiation has been the study of mutants, in which aspects of development are adversely affected. A powerful approach to obtain developmental mutants is forward genetic screens. We carried out such a screen in the mouse aimed at the identification of mutants displaying forebrain defects. Several mutant lines with defects during forebrain development were recovered and the mutated genes identified. Neuronal defects in the lines obtained affect overall cortical morphology, pyramidal and interneuron migration, cortical lamination, and thalamocortical connectivity. Other lines show craniofacial defects of great interest affecting orofacial and skull morphology. Current projects involve the molecular, cellular, and morphological analysis of these mutants.

Dr. Zarbalis received his M.S. in Biology in 1995 and his Ph.D. in 2000 in Molecular Biology and Genetics, both from the Technical University Munich in Germany. After completing postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, he joined the UC Davis Medical Center and Shriners Hospitals in 2008.

Currently, Dr. Zarbalis serves as Assistant Professor at the UC Davis Medical Center, Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Assistant Investigator at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento.

Dr. Zarbalis is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Society for Developmental Biology and the Hellenic Bioscientific Association.

Zarbalis K.*, Siegenthaler J. A.*, Choe Y., May S. R., Peterson A. S., Pleasure S. J.: Cortical dysplasia and skull defects in mice with a novel Foxc1 allele reveal the role of meningeal differentiation in regulating cortical development. PNAS 104 (2007) 14002–14007.

Konstantinova I., Nikolova G., Ohara-Imaizumi M., Meda P., Kucera T., Zarbalis K., Wurst W., Nagamatsu S., Lammert E.: EphA-Ephrin-A-mediated beta cell communication regulates insulin secretion from pancreatic islets. Cell 129 (2007) 359-370.

Dow L. E., Kauffman J. S., Caddy J., Zarbalis K., Peterson A. S., Jane S. M., Russell S. M., Humbert P. O.:  The tumour-suppressor Scribble dictates cell polarity during directed epithelial migration: regulation of Rho GTPase recruitment to the leading edge. Oncogene 26 (2007) 2272-2282 [with correction in 26 (2007) 5692].

May S. R., Ashique A. M., Karlenc M., Wang B., Shen Y., Zarbalis K., Reiter J., Ericson J., Peterson A. S.: Loss of the retrograde motor for IFT disrupts localization of Smo to cilia and prevents the expression of both activator and repressor functions of Gli. Dev Biol. 287 (2005) 378-89.

Zarbalis, K.*, May, R. S.*, Shen, Y., Ekker, M., Rubenstein, J. L. R., Peterson, A.: A focused and efficient genetic screening strategy in the mouse:  Identification of mutations that disrupt cortical development.  PLoS Biology 2 (2004) 1177-1187.

Bolz, J., Mühlfriedel, S., Güllmar, A., Peuckert, C., Zarbalis, K., Wurst, W., Masaaki, T., Levitt, P.: Multiple roles of ephrins during the formation of thalamocortical projections: maps and more.  J. Neurobiol. 59 (2004) 82-94.

Uziel D., Mühlfriedel S., Zarbalis K., Wurst W., Levitt P., Bolz J.: Miswiring of limbic thalamocortical projections in the absence of ephrin-A5. J. Neurosci. 22 (2002) 9352-9357.

Knöll B.*, Zarbalis K.*, Wurst W., Drescher U.: A role for the EphA family in the topographic targeting of vomeronasal axons. Development 128 (2001) 895-906.

Zarbalis K. and Wurst W.: Expression domains of murine ephrin-A5 in the pituitary and hypothalamus. Mech. Dev. 93 (2000) 165-168.

Zarbalis K., Chatterjee B., Löster J., Werner T., Graw J.: Sequence analysis of the B2-crystallin cDNA of  hamster containing a domain conserved among vertebrates. Gene 174 (1996) 181-184.