Photo of Saxena, Ankur

Ankur Saxena, PhD

Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences


Building & Room:

MBRB 4118


900 S. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 413-8137

Related Sites:


How do neurons form in vertebrate embryos and why are so few created in adults?
How do pediatric cancer cells metastasize and what controls their viability and migratory behavior?
We pursue answers to these questions (which, it turns out, have a surprising amount in common) by
combining high-resolution live imaging with genetic, molecular, and physical perturbation and novel
methods of quantitative analysis. Our entirely in vivo, system-wide approach is revealing new
details of how subpopulations of stem cells and cancer cells behave in their natural environments.

Selected Publications

(Complete list of publications on Google Scholar)

  1. Warrier V, Cluzeau CV, Chen B-C, Green-Saxena A, Bergey DE, Betzig E, Saxena A. Rule-governed dynamic stochastic equilibration of multicellular motion in vivo during olfactory neurogenesis. bioRxiv (2019).
  2. Rajan SG*, Gallik KL*, Monaghan JR, Uribe RA, Bronner ME, Saxena A. Tracking neural crest cell cycle progression in vivo. genesis, 56:e23214 (2018).
  3. Gallik K*, Treffy R*, Nacke L, Ahsan K, Rocha M, Green-Saxena A, Saxena A. Neural crest and cancer: Divergent travelers on similar paths. Mechanisms of Development, 148, 89-99 (2017).
  4. Wang K, Milkie D, Saxena A, Engerer P, Misgeld T, Bronner ME, Mumm J, Betzig E.  Rapid adaptive optical recovery of optimal resolution over large multicellular volumes.  Nature Methods, 11(6), 625-8 (2014).
  5. Rogers CD, Saxena A, Bronner ME.  Sip1 mediates an E-cadherin-to-N-cadherin switch during cranial neural crest EMT.  Journal of Cell Biology (Cover Image; Highlighted), 203(5), 835-47 (2013).
  6. Saxena A, Peng BN, Bronner ME.  Sox10-dependent neural crest origin of olfactory microvillous neurons in zebrafish.  eLife (Editor’s Choice; Highlighted), 2:e00336 (2013).  ScienceDaily:  Insight:
  7. Trinh LA, Hochgreb T, Graham M, Wu D, Ruf-Zamojski F, Jayasena CS, Saxena A, Hawk R, Gonzalez-Serricchio A, Dixson A, Chow E, Gonzales C, Leung HY, Solomon I, Bronner-Fraser M, Megason SG, Fraser SE.  A versatile gene trap to visualize and interrogate the function of the vertebrate proteome.  Genes & Development (Cover Image), 25(21), 2306-20 (2011).
  8. Saxena A & Tabin CJ.  The miRNA-processing enzyme Dicer is necessary for cardiac outflow tract alignment and chamber septation.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 107(1), 87-91 (2010).
  9. Saxena A, Fish JE, White MD, Yu S, Smyth JWP, Shaw RM, DiMaio JM, Srivastava D.  Stromal cell-derived factor-1 alpha is cardioprotective during myocardial infarction.  Circulation117(17), 2224-31 (2008).
  10. Bock-Marquette I*Saxena A*, White MD, DiMaio JM, Srivastava D.  Thymosin b4 activates integrin-linked kinase and promotes cardiac cell migration, survival and cardiac repair.  Nature (Article; Highlighted), 432(7016), 466-72 (2004).  (Co-1stauthors contributed equally.)


Postdoctoral Training, Harvard Medical School & Caltech

PhD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

BS, University of Texas at Austin