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Biological Sciences Profiles

Susan Chapman

Associate Professor
Biological Sciences Department

Office: 340 Long Hall
Fax: 8646560435

Vita: Download CV
Personal Website:

 Educational Background

Ph.D. Developmental Neurobiology
Kings College London 2002

B.Sc. Neuroscience
University College London 1998

B.Sc. Science
Open University 1999

 Courses Taught

BIOL4400, H4400, 6400, Developmental Animal Biology, S15, S16, S17
BIOL4610, H4610, 6610, Cell Biology, F14, F15, F16, F17, F18
BIOL4930, Senior Seminar, Cognitive Developmental Defects, F15
BIOL4940, Creative Inquiry, F13-F18
BIOL8070, Graduate course, MCDB Journal Club, S09, F14, F18
BIOL8070, Graduate core course, MCDB, F18
BIOL8910, M.S. Graduate Research
BIOL9910, Ph.D. Graduate Research


Professional Memberships
2018- Fellow, Royal Society of Biology
2009- Member, ASCB
2007- Member, AAAS
2002- Member, Society for Developmental Biology
2001- Member, Genetics Society
2000- Fellow, Anatomical Society
1996- Member, British Society for Developmental Biology

 Research Interests

Creatine transporter deficiency syndrome causes X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It is the second most common intellectual disability, after Fragile-X syndrome, calculated to affect ~1% of ID with unknown etiology. The disorder is thus thought to affect at least 3.5 million males globally. Lacking comprehensive genetic testing, this number is likely grossly underestimated, especially in females, who have milder symptoms due to their second X-chromosome and the effect of random X-inactivation.

SLC6A8 codes for the Creatine transporter, without which Creatine cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, nor enter neuronal cells, thus hindering ATP metabolic activity in the brain. Patients with SLC6A8 mutations do not respond to treatment with oral Creatine supplements and there are currently no available treatment modalities. Using the zebrafish as a model we are testing 22 Creatine analogs for their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter neuronal cells. Morpholino oligonucleotides and the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system are used to knockdown and knockout the SLC6A8 transporter function, respectively. Together with our collaborators we will test the ability of the most promising candidates to rescue the phenotype in SLC6A8 conditional KO mice. Our long term goal is to identify the most promising candidates and move to clinical trials.

This project combines paleontology and developmental biology to study bird evolution from dinosaurs. While multiple skeletal alterations separated birds from their dinosaur ancestors, the current focus is on the Cretaceous transition from long- to short-tailed birds. This transition was so advantageous that birds, arguably the most successful terrestrial vertebrates, have maintained the same short tail configuration for 125 million years. Cretaceous short-tailed birds and modern avians share a truncated tail with fusion of distal caudal vertebrae into a pygostyle (a bony rod that supports the tail fan feathers). Our ongoing studies are aimed at understanding the basic biology of avian tail development compared to long-tailed vertebrates, and correlating that information with the fossil record.


18: Avian tail ontogeny, pygostyle formation, and interpretation of juvenile Mesozoic
specimens. Dana J. Rashid, Kevin Surya, Luis M. Chiappe, Nathan Carroll, Kimball Garrett, Bino Varghese, Alida Bailleul, Jingmai K. O'Connor, Susan C. Chapman*, and John R. Horner* (Joint senior authors). Nature Scientific Reports – In Press

17: Lectin staining selectively highlights tissues within the embryonic chicken head. Poulomi Ray*, Ami L Hughes, Misha Sharif**, Susan C Chapman. Journal of Anatomy. 2016. DOI: 10.1111/joa.12565 PMID: 27861854

16: Fgf3 and Fgf16 expression patterns define spatial and temporal domains in the developing chick inner ear. Daniel Olaya-Sánchez, Luis Óscar Sánchez- Guardado, Sho Ohta, Susan C. Chapman, Gary C. Schoenwolf, Luis Puelles, and Matías Hidalgo-Sánchez. Brain, Structure and Function. 2016. DOI 10.1007/s00429-016-1205-12015 PMID: 26995070

15: Cytoskeletal Reorganization Drives Mesenchymal Condensation and Regulates Downstream Molecular Signaling. Poulomi Ray* and Susan C. Chapman. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 3;10(8):e0134702. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134702. eCollection 2015. PMID: 26237312, PMCID: PMC4523177

14: Daniel Olaya-Sanchez, Luis Oscar Sanchez-Guardado, Sho Ohta, Susan C. Chapman, Gary C. Schoenwolf, Luis Puelles, Matıas Hidalgo-Sanchez. Fgf3 and Fgf16 expression patterns define spatial and temporal domains in the developing chick inner ear. Brain Struct Function. 2016 Mar 19: DOI 10.1007/s00429-016-1205-1. Pubmed PMID: 26995070

13: Ray P, Chapman SC. Cytoskeletal Reorganization Drives Mesenchymal Condensation
and Regulates Downstream Molecular Signaling. PLoS One. 2015 Aug
3;10(8):e0134702. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134702. eCollection 2015. PubMed
PMID: 26237312; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4523177.

12: Galli LM, Munji RN, Chapman SC, Easton A, Li L, Onguka O, Ramahi JS, Suriben
R, Szabo LA, Teng C, Tran B, Hannoush RN, Burrus LW. Frizzled10 mediates WNT1 and
WNT3A signaling in the dorsal spinal cord of the developing chick embryo. Dev
Dyn. 2014 Jun;243(6):833-43. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24123. Epub 2014 Apr 1. PubMed
PMID: 24599775; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4031291.

11: Kucukkal TG, Yang Y, Chapman SC, Cao W, Alexov E. Computational and
experimental approaches to reveal the effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms
with respect to disease diagnostics. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 May 30;15(6):9670-717.
doi: 10.3390/ijms15069670. Review. PubMed PMID: 24886813; PubMed Central PMCID:

10: Rashid DJ, Chapman SC, Larsson HC, Organ CL, Bebin AG, Merzdorf CS, Bradley R,
Horner JR. From dinosaurs to birds: a tail of evolution. Evodevo. 2014 Jul
29;5:25. doi: 10.1186/2041-9139-5-25. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID:
25621146; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4304130.

9: Freese NH, Lam BA, Staton M, Scott A, Chapman SC. A novel gain-of-function
mutation of the proneural IRX1 and IRX2 genes disrupts axis elongation in the
Araucana rumpless chicken. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 5;9(11):e112364. doi:
10.1371/journal.pone.0112364. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25372603; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC4221472.

8: Kumar M, Chapman SC. Cloning and expression analysis of Fgf5, 6 and 7 during
early chick development. Gene Expr Patterns. 2012 Aug-Sep;12(7-8):245-53. doi:
10.1016/j.gep.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 May 24. PubMed PMID: 22634565; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC3434314.

7: Kumar M, Ray P, Chapman SC. Fibroblast growth factor and bone morphogenetic
protein signaling are required for specifying prechondrogenic identity in neural
crest-derived mesenchyme and initiating the chondrogenic program. Dev Dyn. 2012
Jun;241(6):1091-103. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.23768. Epub 2012 Mar 29. PubMed PMID:
22411638; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3354026.

6: Noorai RE, Freese NH, Wright LM, Chapman SC, Clark LA. Genome-wide association
mapping and identification of candidate genes for the rumpless and ear-tufted
traits of the Araucana chicken. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40974. doi:
10.1371/journal.pone.0040974. Epub 2012 Jul 23. PubMed PMID: 22844420; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC3402462.

5: Chapman SC. Can you hear me now? Understanding vertebrate middle ear
development. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jan 1;16:1675-92. Review. PubMed
PMID: 21196256; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3065862.

4: Bleyl SB, Saijoh Y, Bax NA, Gittenberger-de Groot AC, Wisse LJ, Chapman SC,
Hunter J, Shiratori H, Hamada H, Yamada S, Shiota K, Klewer SE, Leppert MF,
Schoenwolf GC. Dysregulation of the PDGFRA gene causes inflow tract anomalies
including TAPVR: integrating evidence from human genetics and model organisms.
Hum Mol Genet. 2010 Apr 1;19(7):1286-301. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddq005. Epub 2010 Jan
13. PubMed PMID: 20071345; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2838537.

3: Wood JL, Hughes AJ, Mercer KJ, Chapman SC. Analysis of chick (Gallus gallus)
middle ear columella formation. BMC Dev Biol. 2010 Feb 16;10:16. doi:
10.1186/1471-213X-10-16. PubMed PMID: 20158901; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2834582.

2: Paxton CN, Bleyl SB, Chapman SC, Schoenwolf GC. Identification of
differentially expressed genes in early inner ear development. Gene Expr
Patterns. 2010 Jan;10(1):31-43. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2009.11.002. Epub 2009 Nov 11.
PubMed PMID: 19913109; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2818654.

1: Warren M, Puskarczyk K, Chapman SC. Chick embryo proliferation studies using
EdU labeling. Dev Dyn. 2009 Apr;238(4):944-9. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21895. PubMed
PMID: 19253396; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2664394.