Rashmi Patel, Ph.D.

Rashmi Patel, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Cancer and Developmental Biology Laboratory


Dr. Patel is exploring the signaling pathways and negative feedback circuits required to restrain posterior digit number (prevent posterior polydactyly) and how late regulation of digit morphogenesis affects digit identity (eg. thumb vs pinky). Understanding the signaling interactions that orchestrate these processes is crucial to explain the molecular basis of various human limb malformations, and relevant to the study of cancer mechanisms in which they become deranged. There are two major signaling centers present in early embryonic limb bud, the AER (expresses Fgfs; regulates limb outgrowth and digit number) and ZPA (expresses Shh; regulates digit identities, and AER extent). Dr. Patel is using mouse molecular genetic models to investigate how relay signaling between ZPA-AER controls posterior digit number, via a Bmp signaling relay that modulates both ZPA size and AER overlap, to limit digit number. She is also investigating how Wnt and Fgf signaling coordinate with each other and with other signaling factors to regulate timing of digit tip formation and digit termination (ending phalanx addition) to limit digit size.

Areas of Expertise

1) Limb development  2) Mouse genetics  3) Polydactyly  4) Shh signaling  5) Genomics  6) Genetic manipulation