Katherine L Thompson-Peer

Picture of Katherine L Thompson-Peer
Assistant Professor, Developmental & Cell Biology
School of Biological Sciences
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2003, Biology
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2012, Cell & Developmental Biology
Postdoc, University of California, San Francisco, 2019
University of California, Irvine
4236 McGaugh Hall
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
dendrite regeneration
Research Abstract
At the most fundamental level, a neuron receives information along dendrites, and sends information down an axon to synaptic contacts. Dendrites can be injured by traumatic brain injury, stroke, and many forms of neurodegeneration, yet while the factors that control axon regeneration after injury have been extensively studied, we know almost nothing about dendrite regeneration. Our long term research goal is to understand the cellular mechanisms of dendrite regeneration after injury.

Our previous work found that the sensory neurons in the fruit fly Drosophila peripheral nervous system exhibit robust regeneration of dendrites after injury and used this system to explore central features of dendrite regeneration in developing animals, young adults, and aging adults. We have observed that after injury, neurons regrow dendrites that recreate some features of uninjured dendrites, but are unable to reconstruct an entire arbor that perfectly mimics an uninjured neuron. Moreover, there are mechanistic differences between the outgrowth of uninjured neurons versus the regeneration of dendrites after injury: dendrite regeneration is uniquely dependent on neuronal activity, ignores cues that constrain and pattern normal dendrite outgrowth, and confronts a mature tissue environment that is different from what a developing neuron would encounter. These challenges are significantly exacerbated when neurons in aging animals attempt to recover from injury.

Current and future projects will deepen our knowledge about dendrite regeneration to create a new framework for understanding how neurons recover from injury in both young and aging animals.
Awards and Honors
Inaugural "Exceptional Mentor" Award, UCI CNLM, May 2022.
Profiled as 1 of 8 “Rising Stars in Neuroscience” in the US, The Scientist Magazine, Nov 2019.
Young Scientist Series Competition Winner, iBiology, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Apr 2017.
Fritz Seil Award for best presentation, 16th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration, Dec 2015.
UCSF Chancellor’s Award for the Advancement of Women, Oct 2015.
Distinction in Teaching Award, Derek Bok Teaching Center & Harvard College, Jan 2009.
Short Biography
Dr. Katherine (Katie) Thompson-Peer earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a two-year stint at the Johns Hopkins University with Alex Kolodkin. She earned her PhD from Harvard University working with Josh Kaplan, and was a postdoctoral fellow with Yuh-Nung and Lily Jan at the University of California, San Francisco and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her postdoctoral work was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke F32 and K99/R00 fellowships, as well as a theUniversity of California Office of the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship. She opened her lab at UC Irvine, in the department of Developmental and Cell Biology, in April 2019.
Prange SE, Bhakta IN, Sysoeva D, Jean GE, Madisetti A, Duong LU, Hwu PT, Melton JG, Le HHN, Thompson-Peer KL. (2024). Dendrite injury, but not axon injury, triggers neuroprotection in Drosophila models of neurodegenerative disease. bioRxiv. 2024 Mar 31. https://doi.org/10.1101/2024.03.29.587363
Duarte VN, Lam VT, Rimicci DS, Thompson-Peer KL. (2023). Calcium Plays an Essential Role in Early-Stage Dendrite Injury Detection. SSRN Preprint Server. 30 Nov 2023. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4646302
Hernandez SJ, Lim RG, Onur T, Dane MA, Smith R, Wang K, Jean GE, Devlin K, Miramontes R, Wu J, Casale M, Kilburn D, Heiser LM, Korkola JE, Van Vactor D, Botas J, Thompson-Peer KL*, Leslie M Thompson*. (2022). An altered extracellular matrix-integrin interface contributes to Huntington's disease-associated CNS dysfunction in glial and vascular cells. Human Molecular Genetics. 2022 Dec 22. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddac303. * indicates co-corresponding authors.
Nguyen C, Thompson-Peer KL. (2021). Comparing automated morphology quantification software on dendrites of uninjured and injured Drosophila neurons. Neuroinformatics. 2021 Aug 03. doi: 10.1007/s12021-021-09532-9
Thompson-Peer KL. (2020). Casein Kinase 1d Triggers Giant Ankyrin Expression. Developmental Cell. 2020 Jan 6: 52(1):4-5. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.12.012. PMID: 31951555. Invited preview for “Casein Kinase 1d Stabilizes Mature Axons by Inhibiting Transcription Termination of Ankyrin”, same issue.
Yadav S, Younger SH, Zhang L, Thompson-Peer KL, Li T, Jan LY, Jan YN. Glial ensheathment of the somatodendritic compartment regulates sensory neuron structure and activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Mar 12; 116(11):5126-5134. PMID: 30804200.
Song Y, Li D, Farrelly O, Miles L, Li F, Kim SE, Lo TY, Wang F, Li T, Thompson-Peer KL, Gong J, Murthy SE, Coste B, Yakubovich N, Patapoutian A, Xiang Y, Rompolas P, Jan LY, Jan YN. The Mechanosensitive Ion Channel Piezo Inhibits Axon Regeneration. Neuron. 2019 Feb 15. PMID: 30819546.
Norris D, Dirnagl U, Zigmond MJ, Thompson-Peer K, Chow TT. Health tips for research groups. Nature. 2018 05; 557(7705):302-304. PMID: 29769687.
DeVault L, Li T, Izabel S, Thompson-Peer KL, Jan LY, Jan YN. Dendrite regeneration of adult Drosophila sensory neurons diminishes with aging and is inhibited by epidermal-derived matrix metalloproteinase 2. Genes Dev. 2018 03 01; 32(5-6):402-414. PMID: 29563183.
Pym E, Sasidharan N, Thompson-Peer KL, Simon DJ, Anselmo A, Sadreyev R, Hall Q, Nurrish S, Kaplan JM. Shank is a dose-dependent regulator of Cav1 calcium current and CREB target expression. Elife. 2017 05 06; 6. PMID: 28477407.
Lin C, Yao E, Zhang K, Jiang X, Croll S, Thompson-Peer K, Chuang PT. YAP is essential for mechanical force production and epithelial cell proliferation during lung branching morphogenesis. Elife. 2017 03 21; 6. PMID: 28323616.
Thompson-Peer KL, DeVault L, Li T, Jan LY, Jan YN. In vivo dendrite regeneration after injury is different from dendrite development. Genes Dev. 2016 08 01; 30(15):1776-89. PMID: 27542831; PMCID: PMC5002981 [Available on 02/01/17].
Rumpf S, Bagley JA, Thompson-Peer KL, Zhu S, Gorczyca D, Beckstead RB, Jan LY, Jan YN. Drosophila Valosin-Containing Protein is required for dendrite pruning through a regulatory role in mRNA metabolism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 May 20; 111(20):7331-6. PMID: 24799714; PMCID: PMC4034197.
Thompson-Peer KL, Bai J, Hu Z, Kaplan JM. HBL-1 patterns synaptic remodeling in C. elegans. Neuron. 2012 Feb 09; 73(3):453-65. PMID: 22325199; PMCID: PMC3278716.
Simon DJ, Madison JM, Conery AL, Thompson-Peer KL, Soskis M, Ruvkun GB, Kaplan JM, Kim JK. The microRNA miR-1 regulates a MEF-2-dependent retrograde signal at neuromuscular junctions. Cell. 2008 May 30; 133(5):903-15. PMID: 18510933; PMCID: PMC2553566.
Huang Z, Yazdani U, Thompson-Peer KL, Kolodkin AL, Terman JR. Crk-associated substrate (Cas) signaling protein functions with integrins to specify axon guidance during development. Development. 2007 Jun; 134(12):2337-47. PMID: 17537798.
Kantor DB, Chivatakarn O, Peer KL, Oster SF, Inatani M, Hansen MJ, Flanagan JG, Yamaguchi Y, Sretavan DW, Giger RJ, Kolodkin AL. Semaphorin 5A is a bifunctional axon guidance cue regulated by heparan and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. Neuron. 2004 Dec 16; 44(6):961-75. PMID: 15603739.
UC Office of the President President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Jul 1, 2013 - Jun 30, 2015 Role: Principal Investigator
"Identification of Axon and Dendrite Regeneration Antagonists in Drosophila" NIH/NINDS F32NS084616 Sep 1, 2013 - Aug 31, 2016 Role: Principal Investigator
"Mechanisms of Dendrite Regeneration after Injury" NIH/NINDS K99NS097627 Sep 1, 2016 - March 31, 2019 Role: Principal Investigator
"Mechanisms of Dendrite Regeneration after Injury" NIH/NINDS R00NS097627 Jul 1, 2019 - June 30, 2023 Role: Principal Investigator
Professional Societies
Society for Neuroscience
American Society for Cell Biology
Genetics Society of America
Other Experience
Postdoctoral Fellow
UC San Francisco & Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lab of Yuh-Nung Jan 2012—2019
Graduate Student
Harvard Medical School & Mass General Hospital, Lab of Joshua Kaplan 2005—2012
Senior Research Associate
Johns Hopkins University & Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lab of Alex Kolodkin 2003—2005
Graduate Programs
Cell Biology
Cellular and Molecular Biosciences
Developmental Biology and Genetics
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Research Centers
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory
Reeve-Irvine Research Center
Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center
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