Janine M. LeBlanc-Straceski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Director, Center for Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences
Health Professions Advisor
President, Merrimack College Chapter of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
B.A. Tufts University
Ph.D. Wesleyan University
Principles of Biology I Laboratory, Genetics, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Embryonic Development, Special Topics in Molecular Motors, From Cells to Drugs: Biomedical Research Approach to Disease Therapies, Directed Research and Senior Thesis Research.
Although vertebrate animals appear bilaterally symmetrical on the outside, inside they have a carefully coordinated pattern of asymmetry – the heart, stomach and spleen are on the left, the liver on the right. Establishing this plan is critical for proper embryonic development, and when it goes awry humans have a condition known as situs inversus. Myosins, molecular motors that shuttle vesicles around the cell, play a role in this process. We are investigating the role one specific myosin, myo1d, has in early embryogenesis of the frog Xenopus laevis using a molecular genetic approach. Members of my laboratory recently published a technique devised while cloning a new myosin from frogs (LeBlanc et al., 2006). Students have cloned and sequenced a new frog myosin whose expression was detected in early spinal cord development. Its role in the development of the nervous system is being investigated. The developmental pattern of expression, and its role in establishing the body plan of vertebrate animals is also being investigated (LeBlanc et al., 2009). The role of this myosin 1d in patterning the vertebrate body plan via vesicle trafficking inside the cell, and its role in left/right asymmetry is specifically being addressed.
My research laboratory is maintained to provide undergraduate students with a quality research experience while making meaningful contributions to the scientific literature. Students who have participated in research projects in my lab have gone on to acquire Ph.D.’s in biochemistry, pathology, molecular biology, and completed MD/PhD and nurse practitioner programs. Two are professors at major universities and several others are employed in the biotechnology industry and at medical schools.
(My work is supported by grants from Merck/AAAS; the National Science Foundation, grant # NSF 0077516; the Merrimack College Faculty Development Program; and the Murray Fellowship.)
Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications
Undergraduate authors are underlined.
LeBlanc-Straceski, Janine M., Anna Sokac, William Bement, Pablo Sobrado, Laura Lemoine. 2009. Developmental Expression of Xenopus Myosin 1d (Xl Myo1d) and Identification of a Myo1d tail Homology that Overlaps TH1. Develop. Growth Differ. 51, 443-451.
LeBlanc-Straceski, J. M., Ricketts, S., Sobrado, P., Donoghue, J., Morgan, K. 2006. The lift pool method for isolation of cDNA clones from lambda phage libraries. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology [on line]. 9: [cited 21Nov2006]. http://www.ejbiotechnology.info/content/vol9/issue4/full/2/index.html. ISSN: 0717-3458. Available from ejbiotechnology.
Shi, S., Lee, R. J., LeBlanc-Straceski, J. M., Uyeda, T. Q. P. 1999. Role of myosin II tail sequences in its function and localization at the cleavage furrow in Dictyostelium. J. Cell Science. 112, 2195-2201.
Basson, C. T., Bachinsky, D. R., Lin, R., Levi, T., Elkins, J., Soults, J., Traill, T., Holmes, L. B., LeBlanc-Straceski, J. M., Renault, B., Kucherlapati, R., Seidman, J. G., Seidman, C. E. 1997. Mutations in human TBX-5 gene cause limb and cardiac malformation in Holt-Oram syndrome. Nature Genetics. 15, 30-35.
Nadkarni, P. M., Banks, A., Montgomery, K., LeBlanc-Straceski, J., Miller, P., Krauter, K. 1996. CONTIG EXPLORER: interactive marker-content map assembly. Genomics. 31, 301-310.
Cupelli, L., Renault, B., LeBlanc-Straceski, J. M., Banks, A., Ward, D., Kucherlapati, R. S., Krauter, K. 1996. Assignment of the human myogenic factors 5 and 6 (MYF5, MYF6) gene cluster to 12q21 by in situ hybridization and physical mapping of the locus between D12S350 and D12S106. Cytogenetic and Cell Genet. 72, 250-251.
Krauter, K., Montgomery, K., Yoon, S-J., LeBlanc-Straceski, J., Renault, B., Marondel, I., Herdman, V., Cupelli, L., Banks, A., Lieman, J., Menninger, J., Bray-Ward, P., Nardkarni, P., Weissenbach, J., Le Plasier, D., Rigault, P., Chumakov, I., Cohen, D., Miller, P., Ward, D., Kucherlapati, R. 1995. A second generation YAC-contig map of human chromosome 12. Nature. 377S, 321-333.
Yoon, S. J., LeBlanc-Straceski, J. M., Ward, D., Krauter, K., Kucherlapati, R. 1994. Organization of the human keratin type II gene cluster at 12q13. Genomics. 24, 502-508.
LeBlanc-Straceski, J., Montgomery, K., Kissel, H., Murtaugh, L., Tsai, P., Ward, D., Kucherlapati, R., Krauter, K. 1994. 21 polymorphic markers from human chromosome 12 for integration of genetic and physical maps. Genomics. 19, 341-349.
Chan, Y-M., Yu, Q-C., Christano, A., Uitto, J., Kucherlapati, R. S., LeBlanc-Straceski, J. M., Fuchs, E. 1994. Mutations in the non-helical linker segment L1-2 of keratin 5 in patients with Weber-Cockayne epidermolysis bullosa simplex. J. Cell Science. 107, 765-774.
Carter, S. A., Bryce, S. D., Munro, C. S., Healy, E., Bashir, R., Weissenbach, J., LeBlanc-Straceski, J., Kucherlapati, R., Stephenson, A., Rees, J. L., Strachan, T. 1994. Linkage analyses in British pedigrees suggest a single-locus for Darier disease and narrow the location to the interval between D12S105 and D12S129. Genomics. 24, 378-382.
LeBlanc-Straceski, J. M., Fukui, Y., Sohn, R. L., Spudich, J. A., Leinwand, L. A. 1994. Functional analysis of a cardiac myosin rod in Dictyostelium discoideum. Cell Motil. Cytoskel. 27, 313-326.
Montgomery, K., LeBlanc, J., Tsai, P., Ward, D., Kucherlapati, R., Krauter, K. 1993. Characterization of two chromosome 12 cosmid libraries and development of STSs from cosmids mapped by FISH. Genomics. 17, 682-693.
LeBlanc, J. M., Kitsis, R. N., Buttrick, P. M., Leinwand, L. A. 1992. Molecular genetic manipulation of cardiac myosin. in Neuromuscular Development and Disease. Alan M. Kelly and Helen Blau, eds. Chapter 17, pp223-237. Raven Press, Ltd.: NY.
LeBlanc, J. M., Infante, A. A. 1992. Sea urchin small RNA RNPs: identification, synthesis and sub-cellular localization during early embryonic development. Molec. Reprod. Develop. 31, 96-105.
LeBlanc, J. M., Leinwand, L. A. 1991. Diversity of myosin based contractile systems in eukaryotic cells. Amer. Zool. 31, 514-521.
LeBlanc, J. M., Infante, A. A. 1990. Endoplasmic reticulum associated glucose-6-phosphatase activity is developmentally regulated and enriched in microsomes of endo/mesoderm in sea urchins. Roux’s Arch. Dev. Biol. 199, 103-106.
LeBlanc, J. M., Infante, A. A. 1989. Association of 7SL RNA and an SRP-like particle with polysomes and endoplasmic reticulum in the developing sea urchin embryo. Dev. Biol. 132, 139-152.