GEM Work-In-Progress Talk: "Uncovering the mechanisms of birth defects using human pluripotent stem cells," Rebekah Charney, Ph.D., UB Department of Biochemistry

Monday, September 25, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
955 Main St. Room 2220A (in-person)
Rebekah Charney, PhD, Assistant Professor, UB Department of Biochemistry.
Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence (GEM); Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED)

Please join us on Monday, September 25th at 4:00 p.m., for the next talk in our Fall 2023 GEM Work-in-Progress series. This month's talk will be presented by Rebekah M. Charney, Ph.D., brand-new assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

This talk will take place in-person at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. More information about the GEM Work-In-Progress series and future speakers is available on the GEM website.

Talk title: "Uncovering the mechanisms of birth defects using human pluripotent stem cells"
Location: Room 2220A, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (955 Main Street).
Description: Neural crest cells are a multipotent cell population which contribute to a diverse array of cell types including most of the craniofacial skeleton, neurons and glia of the peripheral nervous system, and melanocytes. Owing to their extensive contribution to derivatives throughout the body, many human health conditions are associated with the neural crest. We present a model of human neural crest cells based on pluripotent stem cells, and utilize this model to examine the role of the Mowat-Wilson syndrome gene ZEB2 in human neural crest formation and differentiation. Our findings reveal the crucial role of ZEB2 in the establishment of the neural crest cell state and epigenetic landscape, and its requirement for the differentiation of osteoblasts, sensory neurons, and neuroglia. Finally, our results suggest that ZEB2 regulates early human neural crest specification in part by modulating proper levels of BMP signaling. These findings elaborate on the molecular defects underlying Mowat-Wilson syndrome.

These informal talks are part of the GEM Work-in-Progress series held at 4:00 p.m. on the 4th Monday of each month. The speaker schedule is available on the GEM website:

GEM is always seeking UB faculty, post-doc and student speakers whose work focuses on genomics, the environment OR the microbiome for our GEM Work-In-Progress series! If you would like to present at a GEM Work-in-Progress session, please contact Sara Thomas at


For more information, contact:

Sara Thomas