Brian Black, PhD

Cardiovascular Research Institute
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
+1 415 502-7628
Research Overview: 

The molecular and developmental basis for the majority of birth defects is unknown. Tissues and organs form during mammalian embryonic development through the integration of numerous signaling and transcriptional pathways. Our major goal is to define pathways controlling organogenesis to understand normal development, the molecular basis for congenital defects, and potential mechanisms for organ regeneration and repair. Using the mouse as a model system, current work in the lab is focused primarily on pathways controlling cardiovascular and craniofacial development. The long term scientific goal of these studies is to define the how tissues and cells are integrated during organogenesis and how cells receive and interpret positional information. We are using a combination of conditional gene knockouts, transgenic reporter assays, and biochemical, computational and genomic approaches to understand organogenesis, with a particular focus on transcriptional control. The ultimate goal of these studies is to development diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for birth defects of the heart and other organ systems.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Vascular & Cardiac Biology
Research Summary: 
Transcriptional Control of Mammalian Organogenesis
Mentorship Development: 

11/23/20    Building Community in the UCSF MSTP


Featured Publications: 

Modulation of tissue repair by regeneration enhancer elements.


Kang J, Hu J, Karra R, Dickson AL, Tornini VA, Nachtrab G, Gemberling M, Goldman JA, Black BL, Poss KD

MEF2C regulates outflow tract alignment and transcriptional control of Tdgf1.

Development (Cambridge, England)

Barnes RM, Harris IS, Jaehnig EJ, Sauls K, Sinha T, Rojas A, Schachterle W, McCulley DJ, Norris RA, Black BL

Endothelin signaling activates Mef2c expression in the neural crest through a MEF2C-dependent positive-feedback transcriptional pathway.

Development (Cambridge, England)

Hu J, Verzi MP, Robinson AS, Tang PL, Hua LL, Xu SM, Kwok PY, Black BL

Combinatorial regulation of endothelial gene expression by ets and forkhead transcription factors.


De Val S, Chi NC, Meadows SM, Minovitsky S, Anderson JP, Harris IS, Ehlers ML, Agarwal P, Visel A, Xu SM, Pennacchio LA, Dubchak I, Krieg PA, Stainier DY, Black BL

The transcription factor MEF2C is required for craniofacial development.

Developmental cell

Verzi MP, Agarwal P, Brown C, McCulley DJ, Schwarz JJ, Black BL