C. Ben Lovely, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

319 Abraham Flexner Way, HSC-A, Room 713 502-852-7551 ben.lovely@louisville.edu

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Ph.D, Biology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Research Interests

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) describes a broad spectrum of ethanol-induced birth defects which impacts up to 5% of school age children every year. With a complex pathology, FASD is highly variable, with facial and neural phenotypes being common. Some of this variability is thought to be due to genetic predisposition, yet we know very little about the genetic loci contributing to FASD variability. Our work leverages the high degree of genetic amenability in zebrafish to identify ethanol-sensitive loci involved in craniofacial development.

The craniofacial skeleton develops from complex interactions between multiple tissues in the forming head. The primary focus of our research is to understand how gene-ethanol interactions impact the normal cellular and tissue behaviors that contribute to these complex interactions. Using the live imaging capabilities of transgenic zebrafish embryos, as well as genetic, molecular biology and classic embryology techniques, we are able to directly analyze the impact of gene-ethanol interactions on the cell behaviors underlying craniofacial development.

Our goal is to provide insight into the ethanol-sensitive genes that regulate craniofacial development and lay the groundwork into the mechanistic basis of ethanol teratogenesis. Ultimately, we hope to build a comprehensive understanding of the genetic and environmental inputs underlying craniofacial development that will help identify therapeutic avenues to improve efficacy in mitigating these development disorders.

Laboratory Personnel

  • Gina Nobles - Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Zebrafish Facility Supervisor