I am Assistant Professor at the Department of Anatomy, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC. I teach Human anatomy and supervise biology and medical students at different levels of their education during independent research projects.
My research interests focus on muscle evolution and development in vertebrates, in particular head and neck muscles and their correlation with heart evolution. During the past years I have investigated the evolution and embryonic development in vertebrates. Thereby I used a great variation of techniques – dissections, histology, antibody staining, and in-situ hybridization (ISH). To improve the probes for ISH and get a deeper insight into the evolution of salamanders I also used several genetic methods (transcriptomics – next generation sequencing, PCR, cloning, etc.).
In my lab (www.JMZ-Lab.com) I investigate muscle evodevo with focus on craniofacial and cardiac muscles and the the neural crest cell influence on cardiopharyngeal field differentiation. The cardiopharyngeal field is simplified a mesodermal progenitor field that gives rise to head and heart musculature. Both, head and heart development are dependent on neural crest cells which are called cranial and cardiac neural crest cells, respectively. However, when and how becomes the influence of neural crest cells relevant for the proper differentiation of cardiopharyngeal mesoderm derivatives?