Steven McLoon

Professor Emeritus, Department of Neuroscience

Steven McLoon

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-624-9182

Lab Address:
4-165 Jackson Hall


Research Summary/Interests

Developmental neurobiology

The primary aim of research in the McLoon laboratory is to understand the cellular mechanisms responsible for development of the vertebrate nervous system with an emphasis on the visual system. The projects currently underway in the laboratory have three main focuses. First is to identify the mechanisms responsible for determination of cell fate in the developing retina. The aim of current work is to understand how the competence of progenitor cells changes during development so as to allow the initial onset of cell differentiation and later the termination of production of specific cell types (e.g. Silva et al., 2002 & 2003). The second area of work is to understand how the pattern of axonal connections develops between the retina in the eye and the central visual centers in the brain. This process has two steps. In the first step, retinal ganglion cells form a rough pattern of connections, which appears to be guided by certain molecules that encode position in the retina and brain. The second step involves refinement of the pattern of connections, such that aberrant connections are corrected or the cells giving rise to these connections are eliminated. The laboratory is working to identify the mechanisms involved in both steps of this process (e.g. Wu et al., 2001 and Jurney et al., 2002). The third area of work is new to the laboratory. Stem cells are being used in an effort to replace certain cell types in the retina as a potential clinical therapy for the most common types of blindness. Stem cells are being coaxed to recapitulate aspects of normal retinal development by treatment of the cells with certain factors and by introducing certain genes to the cells.


Aaker, JD, Patineau, AL, Yang, HJ, Ewart, DT, Nakagawa, Y, McLoon, SC & Koyano-Nakagawa, N 2010, 'Interaction of MTG family proteins with NEUROG2 and ASCL1 in the developing nervous system' Neuroscience Letters, vol. 474, no. 1, pp. 46-51.

Aaker, JD, Patineau, AL, Yang, HJ, Ewart, DT, Gong, W, Li, T, Nakagawa, Y, McLoon, SC & Koyano-Nakagawa, N 2009, 'Feedback regulation of NEUROG2 activity by MTGR1 is required for progression of neurogenesis' Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 267-277.

Yang, HJ, Silva, AO, Koyano-Nakagawa, N & McLoon, SC 2009, 'Progenitor cell maturation in the developing vertebrate retina' Developmental Dynamics, vol. 238, no. 11, pp. 2823-2836.

Silva, AO, Ercole, CE & McLoon, SC 2003, 'Regulation of ganglion cell production by Notch signaling during retinal development' Journal of Neurobiology, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 511-524.

Silva, AO, Ercole, CE & McLoon, SC 2002, 'Plane of cell cleavage and numb distribution during cell division relative to cell differentiation in the developing retina' Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 22, no. 17, pp. 7518-7525.

Jurney, WM, Gallo, G, Letourneau, PC & McLoon, SC 2002, 'Rac1-mediated endocytosis during Ephrin-A2- and semaphorin 3A-induced growth cone collapse' Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 22, no. 14, pp. 6019-6028.

Gallo, G, Ernst, AF, McLoon, SC & Letourneau, PC 2002, 'Transient PKA Activity Is Required for Initiation but Not Maintenance of BDNF-Mediated Protection from Nitric Oxide-Induced Growth-Cone Collapse' Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 22, no. 12, pp. 5016-5023.

Wu, HH, Selski, DJ, El-Fakahany, EE & McLoon, SC 2001, 'The role of nitric oxide in development of topographic precision in the retinotectal projection of chick' Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 21, no. 12, pp. 4318-4325.

Ernst, AF, Gallo, G, Letourneau, PC & McLoon, SC 2000, 'Stabilization of growing retinal axons by the combined signaling of nitric oxide and brain-derived neurotrophic factor' Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 1458-1469.

Ernst, AF, Wu, HH, El-Fakahany, EE & McLoon, S 1999, 'NMDA receptor-mediated refinement of a transient retinotectal projection during development requires nitric oxide' Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 229-235.



Nsc 8211: Development of Neurobiology (Spring semester); NSCI 1100: Human Neuroanatomy (Fall semester); NSCI 4100: Development of the Nervous System (Fall semester).