David Turner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biological Chemistry
Research Associate Professor, Michigan Neuroscience Institute

Office: 5051 BSRB
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200


(734) 647-6890

Areas of Interest

During mammalian neurogenesis, a complex cascade of gene regulation controls the formation of hundreds of different types of neurons and glia. Cells exit from the cell cycle, migrate to appropriate locations, and differentiate into neurons appropriate to their location within the central nervous system (CNS). We are interested in understanding the regulatory processes that control neurogenesis and cell fate in the CNS. Recent and ongoing projects in the laboratory focus on transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of gene expression in the CNS.

Basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors such as Neurog2 and Ascl1 can drive cell cycle exit and neuronal differentiation of competent cells. These proteins can influence neural cell cycle exit in part by modulating the Hippo/Yap pathway. We are interested in understanding these and other events regulated by bHLH proteins during neuronal differentiation. We use RNAi, RNAseq, and other methods to assess gene function.

MicroRNAs are endogenous small RNAs that regulate gene expression at the level of RNA stability and translation, with critical roles in neural development. We are profiling microRNA expression by deep sequencing, as well as using protein-RNA crosslinking and sequencing (PAR-CLIP) to identify microRNA targets in the CNS and other systems. We are particularly interested in identifying microRNAs involved in the formation or function of specific types of neurons.

Honors & Awards

Endowment for Basic Sciences Teaching Award, University of Michigan Medical School, 2018
Wilson Scholar, 2003

Published Articles or Reviews

Recent Publications

Regulation of retinal amacrine cell generation by miR-216b and Foxn3.
Zhang H, Zhuang P, Welchko RM, Dai M, Meng F, Turner DL.
Development. 2022; 149: dev199484.

microRNA-mRNA Profile of Skeletal Muscle Differentiation and Relevance to Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy.
Morton SU, Sefton CR, Zhang H, Dai M, Turner DL, Uhler MD, Agrawal PB.
Int J Mol Sci. 2021; 22: 2692.

Combined microRNA and mRNA detection in mammalian retinas by in situ hybridization chain reaction.
Zhuang P, Zhang H, Welchko RM, Thompson RC, Xu S, Turner DL.
Sci Rep. 2020; 10: 351.

Ascl1 promotes tangential migration and confines migratory routes by induction of Ephb2 in the telencephalon.
Liu YH, Tsai JW, Chen JL, Yang WS, Chang PC, Cheng PL, Turner DL, Yanagawa Y, Wang TW, Yu JY.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 42895.

The microRNA network is altered in anterior cingulate cortex of patients with unipolar and bipolar depression.
Azevedo JA, Carter BS, Meng F, Turner DL, Dai M, Schatzberg AF, Barchas JD, Jones EG, Bunney WE, Myers RM, Akil H, Watson SJ, Thompson RC.
J Psychiatr Res. 2016; 82: 58–67.

Transcriptional regulatory events initiated by Ascl1 and Neurog2 during neuronal differentiation of P19 embryonic carcinoma cells.
Huang HS, Redmond TM, Kubish GM, Gupta S, Thompson RC, Turner DL, Uhler MD.
J Mol Neurosci. 2015; 55: 684–705.

For a list of publications from PubMed, click HERE