Eugenia C. Olesnicky Killian

Eugenia Christina Olesnicky-Killian
Assistant Professor
Office: Osborne Center B333
Email:  eolesnic@uccs.edu
Phone:  (719) 255-3527

Education:

2009-2011
Post-doctoral training - Princeton University, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton, NJ
2007-2009
Post-doctoral training - University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center, Department of Craniofacial Biology, Aurora, Colorado
2007
Ph.D., Developmental Genetics, New York University, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York, New York
2005
M.S., Biology, New York University, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York, New York
2002
B.A., Biology, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey

Research Interests:

Undoubtedly, one of the most profound observations of developmental biology is that each embryo begins as a single cell and has within it all the information necessary to create a complete and functional body plan. Throughout my scientific career I have studied various aspects regarding the dynamics of embryonic development and have utilized multiple model systems and approaches to answer my questions. Neurons are highly polarized cells, with specialized processes for reception and transmission of signals. Although the development of neuronal polarity is essential for neuronal function, its basis is poorly understood. However, it is well established that mechanisms that generate asymmetric protein distributions are essential for such cellular polarity at both the morphological and functional levels. Protein asymmetries can be created through the local control of protein synthesis, involving the transport of translationally silent mRNAs and local activation of these mRNAs at the target destination. In neurons, mRNA localization and translational repression are used to change the protein composition of various regions of the cell, allowing for distinct axonal and dendritic environments that are equipped for their various cellular tasks. My research plan involves characterizing the role of post-transcriptional gene regulation in establishing and maintaining neural circuitry. Post-transcriptional mechanisms such as mRNA localization and local protein translation play an integral role in neuronal morphogenesis and establishing neural connections. The ultimate goal of my work is to increase our understanding of the roles these mechanisms play in neurodegenerative disorders and congenital birth defects affecting the nervous system.

Selected Publications:

  1. Olesnicky, E.C., Hernandez-Lagunas, L. and Artinger, K.B. Prdm1a regulates sox10 and islet1 in the development of the neural crest and Rohon-Beard sensory neurons. Genesis: The Journal of Genetics and Development. 2010 November 48(11):656-66.
  2. Birkholz, D.A., Olesnicky Killian, E.C. and Artinger, K.B. prdm1a is necessary for posterior pharyngeal arch development in zebrafish. Developmental Dynamics. 2009 October 238: 2575-2587.
  3. Olesnicky Killian, E.C., Birkholz, D.A. and Artinger, K.B. A role for chemokine signaling in neural crest cell migration and craniofacial development. Developmental Biology. 2009 September 333:161-172.
  4. Olesnicky, E. C. & Desplan,C. Distinct mechanisms for mRNA localization during embryonic axis specification in the wasp Nasonia. Developmental Biology. 2007 June 306(1):134-142.
  5. Olesnicky, E. C., Brent, A. E.,Tonnes, L., Walker, M., Pultz, M. A., Leaf, D. and Desplan, C. A caudal mRNA gradient controls posterior development in the wasp Nasonia. Development. 2006 133:3973-3982.
  6. Olesnicky, E.C., Bhogal, B., Gavis, E.R. Combinatorial use of translational co-factors for cell type specific regulation during neuronal morphogenesis in Drosophila. Developmental Biology. 2012. 365:208-218.
Killian's publications through PubMed

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 1210 Introduction to Molecular & Cell Biology
  • BIOL 3830 Genetics
  • BIOL 4010 Senior Seminar in Evolution and Development
  • BIOL 4200/5200 Developmental Neurobiology

Student Research Projects

  • Undergraduate:  Student projects are available for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students that are interested in working with Dr Killian should consult the lab website to see a list of current project and email Dr. Killian directly. Lab website: http://www.uccs.edu/~eolesnic/
  • Graduate:  Student projects are available for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students that are interested in working with Dr Killian should consult the lab website to see a list of current project and email Dr. Killian directly. Lab website: http://www.uccs.edu/~eolesnic/

Student research opportunities

My research is focused on the development of the nervous system and on understanding the genetic and molecular basis of neurological disorders. Students in my laboratory will use a variety of experimental approaches including techniques in microscopy, Genetics, Molecular and Developmental biology. Projects can be tailored to each student's interests and strengths and are thus well suited for both undergraduate and masters research internships. Upon completing an internship in my laboratory, students will have developed a broad skill set applicable for continuing education in Biology and for employment in Health Science, Biotech or Pharmaceutical Industries.

Prerequisites for student research projects:

  1. BIOL 1210: Introduction to Molecular & Cell Biology (with permission)
  2. BIOL 3830: Genetics (preferably)

Contact Us

University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Department of Biology
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Telephone: 719-255-3266 for staff assistance| Fax: 719-255-3047 | E-mail for staff assistance