Gregory B Vanden Heuvel, PhD

Gregory Vanden Heuvel, PhD
  • Associate Dean for Research
  • Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences
    • Primary Address
    • Business
    • Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
    • Department of Biomedical Sciences
    • 1000 Oakland Drive
    • Kalamazoo, MI, United States 49008


Research Statement

The controlled expression of genes during development is of fundamental importance in the differentiation of eukaryotic cells. My research concerns the molecular basis of cellular differentiation using the developing kidney as a model. We are, in particular, interested in the role of a novel homeobox gene, called Cux1, which functions as a transcriptional repressor of genes specifying terminal differentiation in multiple cell lineages. In the kidney, Cux1 is expressed in the early developmental stages, but is sharply down regulated when cells undergo terminal differentiation. Previous studies from my laboratory demonstrate that preventing the normal down regulation of Cux1 in transgenic mice results in abnormal cell proliferation. We have determined that Cux1 regulates the cell cycle during kidney development by repressing the gene encoding the cyclin kinase inhibitor, p27. Moreover, we have found that the ectopic expression of Cux1 results in glomerulosclerosis. Additional studies from my laboratory have shown that Cux1 is ectopically expressed in two different mouse models of polycystic kidney disease. Recent studies from my laboratory have revealed that Cux1 is upregulated by Notch-1 and interacts with the corepressor TLE-4, suggesting that Cux1 is an effector of the Notch signaling pathway. Our current studies are directed at identifying the molecular mechanism by which Cux1 regulates p27 expression, and determining the role of Cux1 in polycystic kidney disease.

Research Summary

Grant Support: R15DK100972 NIH/NIDDK 8/8/14-7/31/18 $100,000/yr Cux1 and cell cycle regulation in kidney development and disease Gregory B. Vanden Heuvel, Ph.D., Principal Investigator Pilot Research Project WMed 3/7/18-3/6/19 $5000 Targeting the Notch signaling pathway for the treatment of PKD Gregory B. Vanden Heuvel, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Area of Expertise

  • Renal Development (Research)
  • Polycystic Kidney Diseases (Research)
  • Molecular Biology (Research)
  • Developmental Biology (Research)
  • Cell Biology (Research)