Headshot of Kerry Tucker

Kerry L. Tucker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, COM


Pickus Center for Biomedical Research 206
Biddeford Campus
Eligible for Student Opportunities

I come from the North Shore of Massachusetts, and I studied biochemistry at Harvard College, starting my research career purifying clathrin proteins from sheep brain at Harvard Medical School. I continued my studies as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, MA where I studied the role of DNA methylation in the development of the mouse, working in the lab of Rudolf Jaenisch. I then switched to developmental neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Yves-Alain Barde at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Munich, Germany, and subsequently as a group leader at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, from 2003 until 2013. In this time, I developed tools to visualize with fluorescent proteins the embryonic development of the central nervous system (CNS), using genetically-altered mice as a model. My laboratory has discovered that primary cilia, a special microtubule-based organelle found in every cell, control early events in CNS development, including morphogenesis, boundary formation, neurogenesis, and nerve outgrowth. With a career based in Germany, I developed many international collaborations exploring the role of primary cilia in the development of a variety of CNS structures, including the forebrain, midbrain, and spinal cord. After my return to the USA as an Associate Professor at the University of New England, I am now moving into the analysis of postnatal phenotypes associated with loss of primary cilia in specific neuronal populations. We hope thereby to model some of the cognitive / neurodevelopmental defects seen in subsets of patients with so-called ciliopathies, multispectrum diseases associated with defects in proteins localizing to the primary cilium or the underlying basal body.



Harvard College
Ph. D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Selected publications

Neuser F, Polack M, Annaheim C, Tucker K L, Korte M (2013) Region-specific integration of embryonic stem cell-derived neuronal precursors into a pre-existing neuronal circuit. PLoS One, 8(6), e66497. PMID: 23840491.

Nikolić M; Gardner H A R, Tucker K L (2013) Postnatal neuronal apoptosis in the cerebral cortex: Physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms. Neuroscience, 254, 369-378.

Willaredt M A; Gorgas K; Gardner H A R; Tucker K L (2012) Mulitple essential roles for primary cilia in heart development. Cilia, 1, 23. PMID: 23351706.

Scholl C; Weißmüller K; Pavlo Holenya P; Shaked-Rabi M; Tucker K L; Stefan Wölfl (2012) Distinct and overlapping gene regulatory networks in BMP- and HDAC-controlled cell fate determination in the embryonic forebrain. BMC Genomics, 13, 298. PMID: 22748179.

Tasouri E; Tucker K L (2011) Primary cilia and organogenesis: Is Sonic hedgehog the only sculptor? Cell Tissue Res, 345(1), 21-40.

Sanno H; Shen X; Kuru N; Bormuth I; Bobsin K; Gardner H A R; Komljenovic D; Tarabykin V; Erzurumlu R; Tucker K L (2010) Control of postnatal apoptosis in the neocortex by RhoA-subfamily GTPases determines neuronal density. J Neurosci, 30(12), 4221-4231. PMID: 20335457.

Willaredt M A; Hasenpusch-Theil K; Gardner H A R; Kitanovic I; Hirschfeld-Warneken V C; Gojak C P; Gorgas K; Bradford C L; Spatz J; Wölfl S; Theil T; Tucker K L (2008) A crucial role for primary cilia in cortical morphogenesis. J Neurosci, 28(48), 12887-12900. PMID: 19036983.

Brachmann I; Jakubick V C; Shaked M; Unsicker K; Tucker K L (2007) A simple slice culture system for the imaging of nerve development in embryonic mouse. Dev Dyn, 236(12), 3514-3523.

Wernig M; Benninger F; Schmandt T; Rade M; Tucker K L; Bussow H; Beck H; Brüstle O (2004) Functional integration of embryonic stem cell-derived neurons in vivo. J Neurosci, 24(22), 5258-5268. PMID: 15175396.

Bibel M; Richter J; Schrenk K; Tucker K L; Staiger V; Korte M; Götz M;  Barde Y-A (2004) Differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells into a defined neuronal lineage. Nat Neurosci, 7(9), 1003-1009.

Benninger F.; Beck H; Wernig M; Tucker K L; Brüstle O; Scheffler B (2003) Functional integration of embryonic stem cell-derived neurons in hippocampal slice cultures.  J Neurosci, 23(18), 7075-7083. PMID: 12904468.

Tucker K L; Meyer M; Barde Y-A (2001) Neurotrophins are required for nerve growth during development. Nat Neurosci, 4(1), 29-37.

Yamashita T; Tucker K L; Barde Y-A (1999) Neurotrophin binding to the p75 receptor modulates Rho activity and axonal outgrowth. Neuron, 24(3), 585-593.