Katharine (Kate) Lewis

Associate Professor, Biology

Research Interests

Specification and patterning of spinal cord interneurons; Formation of functional neuronal circuitry; Evolution of spinal cord patterning and function; Dorsal-ventral neural tube patterning; zebrafish development.


  • Postdoc, University of Oregon (1999-2003)
  • Ph.D., University College London (1994-1998)
  • Kennedy Memorial Scholar, Harvard University (1993-1994)
  • B.A. (Honors), Cambridge University (1990-1993)

Previous Academic Positions

Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Cambridge 2004-2010

Selected Publications

  • S. England, P. Campbell, S. Banerjee, A. Swanson, K. E. Lewis (2017) Identification and expression analysis of the complete family of zebrafish pkd genes.Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 5:5 doi: 10.3389/fcell.2017.00005
  • W. C. Hilinski; J. R. Bostrom; S. J. England; J. L. Juárez-Morales; S. de Jager; O. Armant; J. Legradi; U. Strähle; B. A. Link; K. E. Lewis (2016) Lmx1b is required for the glutamatergic fates of a subset of spinal cord neurons. Neural Development. 11:16 DOI: 10.1186/s13064-016-0070-1. vJ.
  • L. Juarez-Morales, C. Schulte, S. A. Pezoa, G. K. Vallejo, W. Hilinski, S. England, S. de Jager and K. E. Lewis (2016) Evx1 and Evx2 specify excitatory neurotransmitter fates and suppress inhibitory fates through a Pax2 independent mechanism. Neural Development. 11: 5 DOI: 10.1186/s13064-016-0059-9.
  • A.Thélie, S. Desiderio, J. Hanotel, I. Quigley, B. Van Driessche, A. Rodari, M. D. Borromeo, S. Kricha, F. Lahaye, J. Croce, G. Cerda-Moya, J. O. Fernandez, B. Bolle, K. E. Lewis, M. Sander, A. Pierani, M. Schubert, J. E. Johnson, C. R. Kintner, T. Pieler, C. Van Lint, K. A. Henningfeld, E. J. Bellefroid, and C. V. Campenhout (2015) Prdm12 specifies V1 interneurons through cross-repressive interactions with Dbx1 and Nkx6 genes in Xenopus. Development:142:3416-3428.
  • S. England, Hilinski, W., de Jager, S., Andrzejczuk, L. , Campbell, P., Chowdhury, T. , Demby, C. , Fancher, W. , Gong, Y. , Lin, C. , Machikas, A., Rodriguez-Larrain, G. , Roman Rivera, V. and Lewis, K. E. (2014) Identifying Transcription Factors expressed by Ventral Spinal Cord Interneurons. ZFIN on-line publication. http://zfin.org/ZDB-PUB-140822-10.
  • S. England, M. F. Batista, J. K. Mich, J. K. Chen and K. E. Lewis (2011) Roles of Hedgehog Pathway Components and Retinoic Acid Signalling in Specifying Zebrafish Ventral Spinal Cord Neurons. Development 138: 5121-5134.
  • D. K. Goode, H. A. Callaway, G. Cerda, K. E. Lewis and G. Elgar (2011) Minor change, major difference: divergent functions of highly conserved cis-regulatory elements subsequent to whole genome duplication events. Development 138: 879-884.
  • C. J. Schulte, C. Allen, S. England, J. Juárez-Morales and K. E. Lewis (2011) Evx1 is required for joint formation in zebrafish fin dermoskeleton. Developmental Dynamics 240: 1240-1248.
  • Cerda, G.A., Hargrave, M., and Lewis, K.E. (2009) RNA profiling of FAC-sorted neurons from the developing zebrafish spinal cord. Dev. Dyn. 238(1):150-161.
  • Wotton,K., Weierud F., Dietrich, S. and Lewis, K. E. (2008) Comparative genomics of Lbx loci reveals conservation of identical Lbx ohnologs in bony vertebrates. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:171.
  • Batista, M.F., and Lewis, K.E. (2008) Pax2/8 act redundantly to specify glycinergic and GABAergic fates of multiple spinal interneurons. Dev. Biol. 323(1):88-97.
  • Batista, M.F., Jacobstein, J., and Lewis, K.E. (2008) Zebrafish V2 cells develop into excitatory CiD and Notch signalling dependent inhibitory VeLD interneurons. Dev. Biol.. 322(2):263-275.
  • Lupo,G., Harris,W.A. and Lewis, K.E. (2006) Mechanisms of ventral patterning in the vertebrate nervous system. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 7:103-114.
  • Lewis, K.E. (2006) How do genes regulate simple behaviours? Understanding how different neurons in the vertebrate spinal cord are genetically specified. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.. 361(1465):45-66.

Research Spotlight


The Lewis Lab explores multiple areas of biology, including specification and patterning of spinal cord interneurons, formation of functional neuronal circuitry, evolution of spinal cord patterning and function, dorsal-ventral neural tube patterning, and zebrafish development. The team predominantly uses zebrafish as a model system, as its relatively simple nervous system facilitates easy study of neural circuitry and function, as well as cell fate specification of single and multiple cells. The knowledge they gain from this research can be used to develop more effective treatments for nervous system diseases, disorders, and tumors and to facilitate the repair of particular nerves after injury or neurodegeneration. For example, understanding the roles different genes play in particular neurons should help researchers to grow specific types of neurons from stem cells to treat neural diseases, stroke, and spinal cord injuries.