David Canning, PhD, and alumni Natalie Brelsford and Neil Lovett, are this week’s #RacerScholars!

Professor canningDavid R. Canning and two alumni, Natalie R. Brelsford ’14 and Neil W. Lovett ’14, are this week’s #RacerScholars. The two students contributed to the article, “Chondroitin sulfate effects on neural stem cell differentiation,” with Dr. Canning.

This article was published in volume 52, issue 1 of In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal.


We have investigated the role chondroitin sulfate has on cell interactions during neural plate formation in the early chick embryo. Using tissue culture isolates from the prospective neural plate, we have measured neural gene expression profiles associated with neural stem cell differentiation. Removal of chondroitin sulfate from stage 4 neural plate tissue leads to altered associations of N-cadherin-positive neural progenitors and causes changes in the normal sequence of neural marker gene expression. Absence of chondroitin sulfate in the neural plate leads to reduced Sox2 expression and is accompanied by an increase in the expression of anterior markers of neural regionalization. Results obtained in this study suggest that the presence of chondroitin sulfate in the anterior chick embryo is instrumental in maintaining cells in the neural precursor state.

Chondroitin sulfate effects on neural stem
cell differentiation

By David Canning, Natalie R Brelsford,
and Neil Lovett
In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal.:
JAN 2016, vol. 52(1), pgs. 35-44
DOI: 10.1007/s11626-015-9941-8


MSU Featured Scholars: Dr. David R. Canning and Rebecca L. Cunningham

This week’s featured scholars at Murray State University are Dr. David R. Canning and Rebecca L. Cunningham ’14. Dr. Canning and Ms. Cunningham co-wrote the article, “Cell adhesion properties of neural stem cells in the chick embryo,” which appears in the May 2015 issue of the Open Access Journal, In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal.


The nervous system of vertebrates is derived from an early embryonic region referred to as the neural plate. In the chick embryo, the neural plate is populated by neural stem cells specified from the epiblast shortly after the onset of gastrulation. Accompanying the formation of the plate, chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans are expressed in the basal extracellular matrix. We describe in vitro experiments measuring cell adhesion of epiblast cells during the formation of the neural plate. Our findings may suggest that neural stem cells are set apart from non-neural epiblast by changes in relative cell-cell and cell-substrate adhesion. Specifically, changes in cell adhesion separating neural stem cells from the non-neural epiblast may be augmented by the presence of exogenous chondroitin-6-sulfate in the epiblast basal lamina at the time neural progenitors are specified in the epiblast.

Cell adhesion properties of neural stem cells
in the chick embryo
By: Dr. David R. Canning and Rebecca L. Cunningham
In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal
May 2015, vol. 51 (5), pgs. 507-514
doi: 10.1007/s11626-014-9851-1