Corbo Lab

Joseph Corbo, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Pathology & Immunology

Joseph Corbo, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Pathology & Immunology

 Dr. Corbo’s Pathology & Immunology profile 


 Washington University School of Medicine
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Campus Box 8096
660 S. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
West Bldg. 3720


  Corbo Lab Site


Retinal photoreceptors are the first point of interaction between our nervous system and the outside world, transforming incoming light into electrical signals which are then integrated by the rest of the visual system into an image of our surroundings. Our lab studies the systems biology of photoreceptors. Specifically, we are interested in the transcriptional regulatory networks that underlie the development, evolution, and diseases of photoreceptors in the retina. We are taking a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem of how a network of transcription factors orchestrates the expression of distinct cohorts of downstream genes to build this complex micromachine, the photoreceptor cell. In accordance with its role as an entry point into the nervous system, the photoreceptor cell has been exquisitely fine-tuned by evolution. This fine-tuning has, in turn, made the photoreceptor cell particularly prone to genetic perturbations of its function which result in cell death and consequently blindness.

Using genomic and bioinformatic approaches we are elucidating the detailed molecular circuitry underlying photoreceptor development. We hope to eventually develop a quantitative model of the photoreceptor transcriptional network which can be used to predict network-wide alterations in photoreceptor gene expression and function in disease states. Such predictions will permit us to target key nodes within the network for therapeutic intervention. In addition, this molecular blueprint for photoreceptors may permit us to carry out directed differentiation of stem cells into functional photoreceptors to be used in replacement therapy for patients with blindness.


Selected Publications

View all Joseph Corbo’s NCBI publications on PubMed»

  1. Corbo JC, Cepko CL.. A hybrid photoreceptor expressing both rod and cone genes in a mouse model of Enhanced S-cone Syndrome.. PLoS Genet. 1: e11, 2005
  2. Kissin EY, Corbo JC, Farraye FA, Merkel PA.. Colchicine myopathy in a patient with familial Mediterranean fever and normal renal function. Arthritis Rheum 49:614-616, 2003 Abstract
  3. Corbo JC, Deuel T, Long J, LaPorte P, Wynshaw-Boris A, Walsh CA.. Doublecortin is required in mice for lamination of the hippocampus but not the neocortex.. J Neurosci 22:7548-7557, 2002 Abstract
  4. Di Gregorio A, Corbo JC, Levine M.. The regulation of forkhead/HNF3â expression in the Ciona embryo.. Dev Biol 229:31-43, 2001 Abstract
  5. Corbo JC, Di Gregorio A, Levine M.. The ascidian as a model organism in developmental and evolutionary biology.. Cell 106:535-538, 2001 Abstract
  6. Pasquinelli AE, Reinhart BJ, Slack F, Martindale MQ, Kuroda M I, Maller B, Hayward DC, Ball EE, Degn. Conservation of the sequence and temporal expression of let-7 heterochronic regulatory RNA.. Nature 408:86-89, 2000 Abstract
  7. Lin PT, Gleeson JG, Corbo JC, Flanagan L, Walsh CA.. DCAMKL1 encodes a protein kinase with homology to doublecortin that regulates microtubule polymerization.. J Neurosci 20:9152-9161, 200 Abstract
  8. Fujiwara S, Corbo JC, Levine M.. The Snail repressor establishes a muscle/notochord boundary in the Ciona embryo.. Dev Biol 203:358-368, 1998 Abstract
  9. Erives A, Corbo JC, Levine M.. Lineage-specific regulation of the Ciona snail gene in the embryonic mesoderm and neuroectoderm.. Dev Biol 194:213-225, 1998 Abstract
  10. Corbo JC, Fujiwara S, Levine M, Di Gregorio A.. Suppressor of Hairless activates Brachyury expression in the Ciona embryo.. Dev Biol 203:358-368, 1998 Abstract
  11. Corbo JC, Levine M, Zeller RW.. Characterization of a notochord-specific enhancer from the Brachyury promoter region of the ascidian, Ciona intestinalis.. Development 124:589-602, 1997 Abstract
  12. Corbo JC, Levine M.. Characterization of an immunodeficiency mutant in Drosophila.. Mech Dev 55:211-220, 1996 Abstract