The Kantorow laboratory seeks to identify and functionally define those molecular and genetic mechanisms required for cellular differentiation, organ development and disease resistance. A major question in the field is what biological programs guide immature cell populations during embryogenesis and throughout life to form and maintain functional mature tissues? To answer this question the Kantorow laboratory employs genetic, genomic and cellular approaches to identify these pathways with a specific focus on understand eye lens differentiation and transparency. The form and transparent function of the lens is dependent on the continuous conversion of undifferentiated lens epithelial cells into mature organelle-free and elongated lens fiber cells. Failure of lens epithelial cells to differentiate into fiber cells results in cataract formation that is a leading cause of world-wide blindness despite recent advances in cataract surgery. Using an integrated approach combining molecular genetics, high-throughput genomic and epigenetic analysis and gene functional analysis in both cellular and organismal models, the Kantorow lab has discovered that hypoxia regulates lens differentiation through activation of key transcription factors and changes in chromatin confirmations that in turn regulate a wide-range of cellular processes from autophagy through cellular remodeling. The results provide insight into those fundamental biological mechanisms that control cellular differentiation of more complex tissues and they provide insight into how regenerative and other therapies could be developed to treat age-onset and degenerative diseases.
- 1985: B.S., (Cum Laude), Biology, Towson State University, Towson, MD
- 1991: Ph.D., Genetics, George Washington University, Washington, DC
- 2020-Present: Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
- 2016-2020: Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
- 2013-2016: Director of Graduate Programs, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
- 2007-Present: Professor (tenured,) Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
- 2003-2007: Associate Professor, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
- 2004-2006: Associate Chair, Department of Biomedical Science, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
- 1999-2003: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
- 1997-1999: Assistant Research Professor, The Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA Medical School, Los Angeles, CA
- 1996-1997: Senior Staff Fellow, National Eye Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD
- Lens differentiation is characterized by stage-specific changes in chromatin accessibility correlating with differentiation state-specific gene expression. Disatham J, Chauss D, Gheyas R, Brennan L, Blanco D, Daley L, Menko AS, Kantorow M. Developmental Biology. 2019 Sep 1;453(1):86-104. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2019.04.020. Epub 2019 May 25. PMID: 31136738.
- BNIP3L/NIX is required for elimination of mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus during eye lens organelle-free zone formation. Brennan LA, McGreal-Estrada R, Logan CM, Cvekl A, Menko AS, Kantorow M. Experimental Eye Research. 2018 Sep;174:173-184. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2018.06.003. Epub 2018 Jun 4. PMID: 29879393.
- Parkin elimination of mitochondria is important for maintenance of lens cell ROS levels and survival upon oxidative stress exposure. Lisa Brennan, Joseph Khoury and Marc Kantorow. Biochimica Biophysica Acta (BBA) Molecular Basis of Disease. 2017 1863)1) 21-32. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2016.09.020.
- Identification and ultrastructural characterization of a novel nuclear degradation complex in differentiating lens fiber cells. M. Joseph Costello, Lisa A. Brennan, Kurt O. Gillaland, Snoke Johnson, Marc Kantorow. PloS One. 2017 11(8): e0160785. doi: 10.1371.
- Differentiation state-specific mitochondrial dynamic regulatory networks are revealed by global transcriptional analysis of the developing chicken lens. Daniel Chauss, Subhasree Basu, Suren Rajakaruna, Z Ma, Victoria Gau, Sara Anastas, Lisa Brennan, J. Fielding Hejtmancik, A. Sue Menko and Marc Kantorow. Genes, Genomes and Genetics G3 (Bethesda). 2014. 13;4(8):1515-27.
- Molecular Vision
- Investigating Ophthalmology and Visual Science
NIH R01 2019-2024 EY029708A1 (PI) National Eye Institute, NIH “Hypoxia Regulation of the Eye Lens”
2015-2019 EY026478 (PI) National Eye Institute, NIH “Repurposing classical death pathways for signaling roles in lens differentiation”
Professional Memberships and Committees
- Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
- International Society for Eye Research (ISER)
Awards and Fellowships
- 2018: Florida Atlantic University Researcher of the Year (Professor)
- 2016: Charles E. Schmitt College of Medicine Teacher of the Year
- 2014: Fellow Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Gold
- 2012: Fellow Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Silver
- 2005: Florida Atlantic University Researcher of the Year (Associate Professor)
- 2003: West Virginia University, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Outstanding Researcher Award
- 2002: National Foundation For Eye Research Cataract Research Award