Dr. Christopher Lassiter


Director Undergrad Research

Department: Biology
Office: 406E Life Science





B.S., Furman University, 1998

Ph.D., Duke University Program in Genetics and Genomics, 2005.



Research & Teaching Interests

Biology Courses:  Principles of Biology, Biodiversity, Exploring the Unity of Life, Cell Biology, History of Life, Immunology, Advanced Cell Biology, Senior Seminar

Intellectual Inquiry (General Education) Courses:  Scientists and Society, National Parks: Explore Your America, How to Build a Dinosaur

Scholarly Activities

My research interests lie in the field of developmental biology. The mechanisms by which a single cell can give rise to a complex organism have always amazed me. Cells must differentiate and signal to each other, turning on vast networks of genes while coordinating growth, shape, and function. Much research has been done on small range signaling molecules during development. During my graduate work, I became interested in molecules that signal over longer ranges: hormones.

My work has focused on the estrogen and androgen signaling pathways. These hormones are important in the developing embryo and in the adult vertebrate. These small molecules signal in many tissues of the body, including reproductive tissues, adipose, brain, bone, and heart. Both signal by binding to specific receptors. My work has involved characterizing the estrogen receptors, androgen receptors, and aromatase, the gene that codes for estrogen synthesis from testosterone. These genes are well conserved among vertebrates. Currently, the lab is focused on characterizing endocrine disrupter effects during embryonic development in zebrafish. The pleiotropic effects of hormones on gene expression could affect neural architecture resulting in morphological and behavioral effects well into adulthood.

Recent Publications

Crowder CM, Lassiter CS, Gorelick DA. 2018. Nuclear Androgen Receptor Regulates Testes Organization and Oocyte Maturation in Zebrafish. Endocrinology. 159(2):980-993.

Pashay Ahi E, Walker BS, Lassiter CS, Jónsson ZO. 2016. Investigation of the effects of estrogen on skeletal gene expression during zebrafish larval head development. PeerJ 4:e1878. 

Kramer AK, Vuthiganon J, Lassiter CS.  2016.  Bis-GMA affects craniofacial development in zebrafish embryos (Danio rerio).  Environ Toxicol Pharmacol.  43:159-165.

Cohen SP, LaChappelle AR, Walker BS, Lassiter CS. 2014. Modulation of Estrogen Causes Disruption of Craniofacial Chondrogenesis in Danio rerio. Aquat Toxicol. 152:113-120.

Allgood OE, Hamad A, Fox J, DeFrank A, Gilley R, Dawson F, Sykes B, Underwood TJ, Naylor RC, Briggs AA, Lassiter CS, Bell WE, Turner JE. 2013. Estrogen Prevents Cardiac and Vascular Failure in the ‘Listless’ Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Developmental Model. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 189:33-42.

Lassiter CS. 2010. An inexpensive method to simulate a monohybrid cross using wild-type zebrafish (Danio rerio). Bioscene: J Teach Col Biol. 36:20-25.

Smolinsky AN, Doughman JM, Kratzke L-T, Lassiter CS. 2010. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) androgen receptor: cDNA, genomic structure, and up-regulation by the fungicide vinclozolin. Comp Biochem Physiol C: Toxicol Pharmacol 151:161-166.

Lassiter CS, Linney E. 2007. Embryonic expression and steroid regulation of brain aromatase (cyp19b) in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Zebrafish 4:49-58.

Lassiter CS, Kelley B, Linney E. 2002. Genomic structure and expression of estrogen receptor beta a (ERbeta-a) in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Gene 299:141-151.

Abidi F, Jacquot S, Lassiter C, Trivier E, Hanauer A, Schwartz C. 1999. Novel mutations in rsk-2, the gene for Coffin-Lowry Syndrome (CLS). Eur J Hum Gen 7:20-26.

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