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Taro Nakamura

Research Associate


My general interest is to investigate how changes in patterning mechanisms have contributed to morphological diversity.

I completed my Ph.D in the laboratory of Professor Sumihare Noji at the University of Tokushima in Japan, where I studied the molecular mechanisms underlying leg regeneration in cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus. As a postdoc in the Noji lab, my research was focused on how changes in patterning mechanisms have contributed to morphological diversity, where I studied molecular mechanisms of the cricket early embryogenesis, especially focused on cellular dynamics involved in anteroposterior and dorsoventral axis patterning.

I joined the Extavour lab in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow, to investigate the following major questions: (1) the role of positional information and Hox genes in determining where Gryllus PGCs form in the abdomen. (2) the mesodermal origin of Gryllus PGCs: do they transition from one cell fate type to another? (3) the dynamics of PGC migration: how do the PGCs congregate to gonads in abdominal segments 3-4?

I am also interested in applying new technology for genome modification such as TALENs and CRISPR/Cas systems to investigation ofthe gene-regulation function of a cis-regulatory module in developmental evolution. Outside of the lab I enjoy participating in marathon races and hiking in natural environments.

I believe the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus is a wonderful new model organism to study not only Evo-devo, but also regenerative medicine.

I am the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).


Selected Publications

10. Nakamura, T. and Extavour, C.G. (2016) The transcriptional repressor Blimp-1 acts downstream of BMP signaling to generate primordial germ cells in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Development 143(2): 255-263. * Read more in "In This Issue" of Development *

9. Donoughe, S., Nakamura, T., Ewen-Campen, B., Green II, D.A., Henderson, L. and Extavour, C.G. (2014) BMP signalling is required for generation of primordial germ cells in an insect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 111(11): 4133-4138.

8. Watanabe, T., Ochiai, H., Sakuma, T., Horch, H.W., Hamaguchi, N., Nakamura, T., Bando, T., Ohuchi, H., Yamamoto, T., Noji, S., and Mito, T (2012) Non-transgenic genome modifications in a hemimetabolous insect using zinc-finger and TAL effector nucleases. Nature Communications 3:1017 | DoI: 10.1038/ncomms2020.

7. Nakamura, T., Yoshizaki, M., Ogawa, S., Okamoto, H., Shinmyo, Y., Bando, T., Ohuchi, H., Noji, S., and Mito, T. (2010) Imaging of transgenic cricket embryos reveals cell movements consistent with a syncytial patterning mechanism. Current Biology 20, 1641-1647.

6. Mito, T., Nakamura, T., Bando, T., Ohuchi, H., and Noji, S. (2010) The advent of RNA interference in Entomology. Entomological Science (E-pub)

5. Mito, T., Nakamura, T., and Noji, S., (2010) Evolution of insect development; to the hemimetabolous paradigm. (review) Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 20, 355-361.

4. Nakamura, T., Mito, T., Miyawaki, K., Ohuchi, H., and Noji, S. (2008). EGFR signaling is required for re-establishing the proximodistal axis during distal leg regeneration in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus nymph. Developmental Biology 319, 46-55.

3. Mito, T., Nakamura, T., Sarashina, I., Chang, C.C., Ogawa, S., Ohuchi, H., and Noji, S. (2008). Dynamic expression patterns of vasa during embryogenesis in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Development, Genes and Evolution 218, 381-387.

2. Nakamura, T., Mito, T., Bando, T., Ohuchi, H., and Noji, S. (2008). Dissecting insect leg regeneration through RNA interference. (review) Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 65, 64-72.

1. Nakamura, T., Mito, T., Tanaka, Y., Bando, T., Ohuchi, H., and Noji, S. (2007). Involvement of canonical Wnt/Wingless signaling in the determination of the positional values within the leg segment of the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Development Growth Differentiation 49, 79-88.