Kevin Francis, Ph.D.
- Associate Scientist, Sanford Research
- Assistant Professor, USDSSM
- Post-doc, Human Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD
- Ph.D., Neuropathology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
- M.S., Anatomy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
- B.S., Biology, Marshall University, Huntington, WV
Current Research: While a host of genetic conditions result in pediatric disease within the nervous system, the precise molecular mechanisms that underlie neurodevelopmental conditions are poorly understood. For example, perturbation of cholesterol homeostasis exerts curious effects on tissue development, function, and patient phenotypes, though both clinical and research findings are inconsistent and untreatable. My research projects utilize induced pluripotent stem cells and genetic mouse models to examine how cholesterol and lipids interact with developmentally critical signaling pathways to affect neural development, cellular function, and disease pathogenesis. An array of experimental techniques is utilized, including integrating and non-integrating cellular reprogramming methods, immunocytochemistry, whole genomic sequencing, high-throughput screening methods and standard molecular biology/biochemical assays, to identify causes and potential targets for patient therapy. These projects also explore basic biological questions regarding how lipid metabolism regulates normal mammalian development.