About Rachel Mullen
Dr. Mullen is an Instructor in the Department of Genetics. She completed her PhD in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Indiana University School of Medicine at Indianapolis. She worked on further understanding transcriptional regulation of pituitary development. Through her research, she discovered multiple transcriptional enhancers of the LHX3 gene, a key factor required for pituitary development whose mutation results in human combined pituitary hormone deficiency disorder. Dr. Mullen joined Dr. Behringer’s laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011 and was promoted to Instructor in 2017. Her research here focuses on understanding mesenchyme-epithelia interactions during early sex differentiation. The Mullerian ducts are a pair of simple tubes with outer mesenchyme and inner epithelium which differentiate into a uterus in females but are regressed in males. Hormone signaling from the male testes to the Mullerian duct mesenchyme activate cellular and molecular changes resulting in regression of the mesenchyme and adjacent epithelial cells. Her overall goal is to broaden understanding of how adjacent cell types communicate. By elucidating the mechanism behind this spatially and temporally defined developmental process her work may lead to key insights into cell-cell interactions in other developmental processes and diseases including cancer.
Instructor, Department of Genetics, Division of Basic Science Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
|2011||Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA, PHD, Molecular Biology|
|2011-2017||Research Fellowship, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX|
- Mullen RD, Wang Y, Liu B, Moore EL, Behringer RR. Osterix functions downstream of anti-Müllerian hormone signaling to regulate Müllerian duct regression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115(33):8382-8387, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30061417.
- Park S, Mullen RD, Rhodes SJ. Cell-specific actions of a human LHX3 gene enhancer during pituitary and spinal cord development. Mol Endocrinol 27(12):2013-27, 2013. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 24100213.
- Stewart MD, Deng JM, Stewart CA, Mullen RD, Wang Y, Lopez S, Serna MK, Huang CC, Janovick JA, Pask AJ, Schwartz RJ, Conn PM, Behringer RR. Mice harboring Gnrhr E90K, a mutation that causes protein misfolding and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in humans, exhibit testis size reduction and ovulation failure. Mol Endocrinol 26(11):1847-56, 2012. e-Pub 2012. PMID: 22918878.
- Mullen RD, Park S, Rhodes SJ. A distal modular enhancer complex acts to control pituitary- and nervous system-specific expression of the LHX3 regulatory gene. Mol Endocrinol 26(2):308-19, 2012. e-Pub 2011. PMID: 22194342.
- Pfaeffle RW, Hunter CS, Savage JJ, Duran-Prado M, Mullen RD, Neeb ZP, Eiholzer U, Hesse V, Haddad NG, Stobbe HM, Blum WF, Weigel JF, Rhodes SJ. Three novel missense mutations within the LHX4 gene are associated with variable pituitary hormone deficiencies. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 93(3):1062-71, 2008. e-Pub 2007. PMID: 18073311.
- Savage JJ, Mullen RD, Sloop KW, Colvin SC, Camper SA, Franklin CL, Rhodes SJ. Transgenic mice expressing LHX3 transcription factor isoforms in the pituitary: effects on the gonadotrope axis and sex-specific reproductive disease. J Cell Physiol 212(1):105-17, 2007. PMID: 17311285.
- Yen ST, Trimmer KA, Aboul-Fettouh N, Mullen RD, Culver JC, Dickinson ME, Behringer RR, Eisenhoffer GT. CreLite: An optogenetically controlled Cre/loxP system using red light. Dev Dyn. e-Pub 2020. PMID: 32745301.