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Johann K Eberhart

Molecular Biosciences


Phone: 512-232-8340

Office Location
PAT 522

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Research Summary:

How does a structure as complex as the vertebrate head form during development? How is variation in facial morphology generated both through evolution and in disease? Research in my lab aims at uncovering answers to these questions, primarily using the zebrafish as a model organism. Using live imaging of developing transgenic embryos we can analyze the cell movements and interactions that drive morphogenesis. We also employ genetics, molecular biology and classic embryology to dissect the regulatory networks underlying facial development. Our goal is to build a comprehensive understanding of the genetic and environmental inputs underlying facial morphogenesis.

We study how genetics and the environment influence the cellular mechanisms underlying craniofacial development. Craniofacial morphogenesis requires the precise control of multiple cellular processes, including cell movement, signaling, and differentiation. Disruption of any one of the processes can result in craniofacial disease, which is prevalent in humans. Our goal is to determine how these varied cellular processes integrate during craniofacial morphogenesis using the zebrafish as a model organism. Studies in the lab utilize a variety of techniques including genetics, molecular biology, and live imaging of embryos to finely dissect normal craniofacial morphogenesis and help determine the causes of craniofacial disease.


  • Sidik, G. Dixon, H.G. Kirby and J.K. Eberhart (in press) Single embryo transcriptomics determines that phenotypes in ethanol-exposed vangl2mutants are due to an indirect effect on the Shh pathway. BMC Biology.
  • E. Swartz, C.B. Lovely and J.K. Eberhart (in press) Variation in phenotypes from a Bmp-Gata3 genetic pathway is modulated by Shh signaling. PLoS Genetics.
  • Aggarwal, T.P. Kuka, M. Banik, B.P. Medellin, C.Q. Ngo, D. Xie, Y. Fernandes, T.L. Dangerfield, E. Ye, B. Bouley, K.A. Johnson, Y.J. Zhang, J.E. Eberhart and E.L. Que (2020) Visible light mediated bidirectional control over carbonic anhydrase activity in cells and in vivo using azobenzenesulfonamides. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 142, 14522-14531.
  • L. Everson, R. Batchu and J.K. Eberhart (2020) Multifactorial Genetic and Environmental Hedgehog Pathway Disruption Sensitizes Embryos to Alcohol-Induced Craniofacial Defects. Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research. DOI: 10.1111/acer.14427.
  • E. Swartz, C.B. Lovely, N. McCarthy, T. Kuka, J.K. Eberhart (2020) Novel ethanol-sensitive mutants identified in an F3 forward genetic screen. Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research. 44, 56-65.
  • Buckley, A. Sidik, R.D. Kar and J.K. Eberhart (2019) Differentially sensitive neuronal subpopulations in the central nervous system and the formation of hindbrain heterotopias in ethanol-exposed zebrafish. Birth Defects Research. 111, 700-713.
  • Fernandes, M. Rampersad and J.K. Eberhart (2018) Social behavioral phenotyping of the zebrafish casper mutant following embryonic alcohol exposure. Behav Brain Res.356, 46-50.
  • Fernandes, M. Rampersad, E.M. Jones and J.K. Eberhart (2018) Social deficits following embryonic ethanol exposure arise in post-larval zebrafish. Addiction Biology.Doi:10.1111/adb. 12649
  • Tang, J.K. Eberhart, M.A. Cleves, J. Li, M. Li, S. MacLeod, W.N. Nembhard and C.A. Hobbs (2018) PDGFRA gene, maternal binge drinking and obstructive heart defects. Sci Rep.8 (1).
  • Fernandes, D.M. Buckley and J.K. Eberhart (2018) Diving into the world of alcohol teratogenesis: A review of zebrafish models of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Biochem Cell Biol, 96, 88-97.
  • D. McGurk, M.E. Swartz, J.W. Chen, J.L. Galloway and J.K. Eberhart (2017) In vivo zebrafish morphogenesis shows Cyp26b1 promotes tendon condensation and musculoskeletal patterning in the embryonic face. PLoS Genetics13, e1007112.
  • B. Lovely, M. Rampersad, Y. Fernandes and J.K. Eberhart (2016) Gene-environment interactions in development and disease. WIREs Dev Biol, doi: 10.1002/wdev.247.
  • B. Lovely, Y. Fernandes and J.K. Eberhart (2016) Fishing for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Zebrafish as a model for ethanol teratogenesis. Zebrafish.13, 391-398. PMC5035362
  • K. Eberhartand S.E. Parnell (2016) The genetics of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research.40, 1154-1165. PMC5125635
  • B. Lovely, M.E. Swartz, N. McCarthy, J.L. Norrie and J.K. Eberhart (2016) Bmp signaling mediates endoderm pouch morphogenesis by regulating Fgf signaling in the zebrafish. Development. 143, 2000-2011. PMC4920158
  • McCarthy, A. Sidik, J.Y. Bertrand and J.K. Eberhart (2016) An Fgf-Shh signaling hierarchy regulates early specification of the zebrafish skull. Developmental Biology.415, 261-277. PMC4967541
  • McCarthy, J.S. Liu, A.M. Richarte, B. Eskiocak, C.B. Lovely, M.D. Tallquist, and J.K. Eberhart (2016) Pdgfra and Pdgfrb genetically interact during craniofacial development. Developmental Dynamics.245, 641-652. PMC 4873473
  • B. Lovely, R.D. Nobles and J.K. Eberhart (2014) Developmental age strengthens barriers to ethanol accumulation in zebrafish. Alcohol48, 595-602. PMC4163099
  • B. Lovely and J.K. Eberhart (2014) Catching a conserved mechanism of ethanol teratogenesis. Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research.38, 2160-2163. PMC4147959
  • McCarthy and J.K. Eberhart (2014) Gene-ethanol interactions underlying Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Cell. Mol. Life Sci.71, 2699-2706. PMC3931738
  • J. Beahm, K.W. Dehnert, N.L. Derr, J. Kuhn, J.K. Eberhart, D. Spillmann, S.L. Amacher and C.R. Bertozzi (2014) A visualizable chain-terminating inhibitor of glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis in developing zebrafish.Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.53, 3347-52. PMC4029504
  • McGurk, C. Ben Lovely and J.K. Eberhart (2014) Analyzing craniofacial morphogenesis in zebrafish using 4D confocal microscopy. J Vis Exp. e51190.
  • E. Swartz, M. Ben Wells, M. Griffin, N. McCarthy, C. Ben Lovely, P. McGurk, J. Rozacky and J.K. Eberhart (2014) A screen of zebrafish mutants identifies ethanol-sensitive genetic loci. Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research. 38, 694-703. PMC3959233
  • Sheehan-Rooney, F. Zhao, M.E. Swartz, D. Liu and J.K. Eberhart. (2013) Ahsa1/Hsp90 activity confers more severe craniofacial phenotypes in a zebrafish model of HDR. Dis. Model Mech. 6, 1285-91. PMC3759348
  • McCarthy, L. Wetherill, C.B. Lovely, M.E. Swartz, T.M. Foroud and J.K. Eberhart. (2013) Pdgfra protects against ethanol-induced craniofacial defects in a zebrafish model of FASD. Development. 140, 3254-65. PMC3931738
  • K. Eberhartand R.A. Harris (2013) Understanding variability in ethanol teratogenicity. PNAS. 110, 5285-5286. PMC3619315
  • Sheehan-Rooney, M.E. Swartz, C.B. Lovely, M.J. Dixon and J.K. Eberhart (2013) Bmp and Shh signaling mediate the expression of satb2 in the pharyngeal arches. PLoS One. 8, e59533. PMC3605343
  • E. Swartz, V. Nguyen, N.Q. McCarthy and J.K. Eberhart. (2012) Hh signaling regulates patterning and morphogenesis of the pharyngeal arch-derived skeleton. Dev Biol.369, 65-75. PMC3413459
  • E. Swartz, K. Sheehan-Rooney, M. Dixon and J.K. Eberhart. (2011) Examination of a palatogenic gene program in zebrafish. Dev. Dynamics.240, 2204-2220. PMC3202344
  • He, Y.L. Yan, J.K. Eberhart, A. Herpin, T.U. Wagner, M. Schartl, J.H. Postlethwait. (2011) miR-196 regulates axial patterning and pectoral appendage initiation. Dev. Biol.357, 463-477. PMC3164755
  • K. Tittle, R. Sze, A. Ng, R.J. Nuckels, M.E. Swartz, J.K. Eberhart, J.M. Gross. (2011) Uhrf1 and Dnmt1 are required for development and maintenance of the zebrafish lens. Dev. Biol.350, 50-63. PMC3022120
  • Sheehan-Rooney, J.K. Eberhart, and M. Dixon. (2010) A cross-species analysis of Satb2 expression suggests deep conservation across vertebrate lineages. Dev. Dynamics.239, 3481-3491. PMC3202344
  • He, J.K. Eberhartand J.H. Postlethwait (2009) MicroRNAs and micromanaging the skeleton in disease, development and evolution. J. Cell Mol. Med.13, 606-618. PMC2828950
  • B. Kimmel and J.K. Eberhart (2008) The midline, oral ectoderm, and the arch-0 problem. Int. & Comp. Biol.48, 668-680. PMC2889446
  • K. Eberhart, X. He, M.E. Swartz, Y-L. Yan, H. Song, T. Boling, A.K. Kunerth, M.B. Walker, C.B. Kimmel, and J.H. Postlethwait (2008) MicroRNA Mirn140 modulates Pdgf signaling during palatogenesis. Nat. Genet. 40, 290-298. PMC2747601
  • T. Miller, M.E. Swartz, P.A. Khuu, M.B. Walker, J.K. Eberhartand C.B. Kimmel (2007) mef2ca is required in cranial neural crest to effect Endothelin1 signaling in zebrafish. Dev. Biol.308, 144-157. PMC2148033.
  • R. Miller, T.S. Atwood, B.F. Eames, J.K. Eberhart, Y.L. Yan, J.H. Postlethwait and E.A. Johnson (2007) RAD marker microarrays enable rapid mapping of zebrafish mutations. Genome Biol.8, R105. PMC2394753.
  • B. Walker, C.T. Miller, M.E. Swartz, J.K. Eberhartand C.B. Kimmel. (2007) phospholipase c, beta 3is required for Endothelin1 regulation of pharyngeal arch patterning  in zebrafish. Dev. Biol.304, 194-207. PMC1906931.
  • G. Crump, M.E. Swartz, J.K. Eberhartand C.B. Kimmel. (2006) moz-dependent hoxexpression controls segment-specific of skeletal precursors in the face. Development 133, 2661-2669.
  • K. Eberhart, M.E. Swartz, J.G. Crump and C.B. Kimmel. (2006) Early Hedgehog signaling from neural to oral epithelium organizes anterior craniofacial development. Development 133, 1069-1077.
  • Sahin, P.L. Greer, M.Z. Lin, H. Poucher, J. Eberhart, S. Schmidt, T.M. Wright, S.M. Shamah, S. O’Connell, C.W. Cowan, L. Hu, J.L. Goldberg, A. Debant, G. Corfas, C.E. Krull and M.E. Greenberg. (2005) Eph-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of ephexin1 modulates growth cone collapse. Neuron46, 191-204.
  • Eberhart, J. Barr, S. O'Connell, A. Flagg, M.E. Swartz, K.S. Cramer, K.W. Tosney, E.B. Pasquale, and C.E. Krull. (2004) Ephrin-A5 exerts positive or inhibitory effects on distinct subsets of EphA4-positive motor neurons. J. Neurosci. 24, 1070-1078.
  • Eberhart, M.E. Swartz, S.R. Koblar, E. B. Pasquale, and C. E. Krull. (2002) EphA4 Constitutes a Population-Specific Guidance Cue for Motor Neurons. Dev. Biol.247, 89-101.
  • Swartz, J. Eberhart, G. S. Mastick, and C. E. Krull. (2001). Sparking new frontiers: Using in vivo electroporation for genetic manipulations. Dev. Biol.233, 13-21.
  • E. Swartz, J. Eberhart, E. B. Pasquale, and C. E. Krull. (2001) EphA4/ephrin-A5 interactions in muscle precursor cell migration in the avian forelimb. Development128, 4669-4680.
  • Eberhart, M. Swartz, S. A. Koblar, E. B. Pasquale, H. Tanaka, C. E. Krull. (2000). Expression of EphA4, ephrin-A2 and ephrin-A5 during axon outgrowth to the hindlimb indicates potential roles in pathfinding. Dev. Neurosci. 22, 237-250.