Crystal D. Rogers

Crystal Rogers

Position Title
Assistant Professor

Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Medicine 3B

Research Interests

Understanding the genetic mechanisms and environmental factors that control and affect early vertebrate development.

Our lab is interested in understanding how genetic and environmental changes affect early developmental processes in vertebrate embryos. Specifically, we study embryos from two research organisms, chickens and amphibans, to identify the factors that are necessary and sufficient to drive the formation and differentiation of neural crest cells. Neural crest cells are a population of stem-like cells that originate in the dorsal neural tube then migrate out of the neural tube to distant sites in the developing embryo where they differentiate into diverse derivatives such as craniofacial bone and cartilage, pigment cells, and the neurons and glia of the peripheral nervous system. We want to understand the normal mechanisms that control the development of these cells and also to understand how environmental exposures can negatively affect development causing disorders such as cleft palate, peripheral nerve defects, albinism, and others.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (BMCDB)
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology (PTX)

Specialties / Focus

  • Cell Biology
  • Cell Division and the Cytoskeleton
  • Cellular Responses to Toxins and Stress
  • Developmental Biology
  • Gene Regulation
  • Neurobiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cell Biology


  • TBD

Honors and Awards

  • 2019-2020, Faculty Scholar of the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS), UC Davis

    Professional Societies

    • Society for Developmental Biology (SDB)
    • American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
    • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
    • Society for Birth Defects Research
    • Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB)


    • 2010-2015, Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology
    • 2009, PhD in Developmental Biology from Georgetown University
    • 2001, BS in Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Evolution from UCLA


    Chacon, J., Rogers, C.D., Early expression of Tubulin Beta-III in avian cranial neural crest cells. Gene Expression Patterns, 34, 2019.

    Rogers, C.D., Data on the effects of N-cadherin perturbation on the expression of type II cadherin proteins and major signaling pathways. Data Brief 20, 2018, p. 419-425.

    Rogers, C.D., Sorrells-Smith, L.K., Bronner, ME, A catenin-dependent balance between N-cadherin and E-cadherin controls neuroectodermal cell fate choices. Mech Dev 152, 2018, p. 44-56, 2018.

    Rogers, C.D., Nie, S.Y., Specifying neural crest cells: from chromatin to morphogens and factors in between. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs), e322, 2018.  Article chosen for cover image.

    Rogers, C.D., A. Saxena, and M.E. Bronner, Sip1 mediates an E-cadherin-to-N-cadherin switch during cranial neural crest EMT. J Cell Biol, 2013. 203(5): p. 835-47. Article chosen for cover image.

    Rogers, C.D., J.L. Phillips, and M.E. Bronner, Elk3 is essential for the progression from progenitor to definitive neural crest cell. Dev Biol, 2013. 374(2): p. 255-63.

    Rogers, C.D., Jayasena, C.S., Nie, S., Bronner, M.E., Neural crest specification: tissues, signals, and transcription factors. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology, 2012. 1(1): p. 52-68.

    Rogers, C.D., G.S. Ferzli, and E.S. Casey, The response of early neural genes to FGF signaling or inhibition of BMP indicate the absence of a conserved neural induction module. BMC Dev Biol, 2011. 11: p. 74.

    Rogers, C.D., S.A. Moody, and E.S. Casey, Neural induction and factors that stabilize a neural fate. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today, 2009. 87(3): p. 249-62. Review article.

    Rogers, C.D.*, Harafuji*, N., Archer, T.C., Cunningham, D.D., T.C., Casey, E.M., et al., Xenopus Sox3 activates sox2 and geminin and indirectly represses Xvent2 expression to induce neural progenitor formation at the expense of non-neural ectodermal derivatives. Mech Dev, 2009. 126(1-2): p. 42-55.

    Rogers, C.D.*, Archer, T.C.*, Cunningham, D.D., Grammer, T.C., Casey, E.M., Sox3 expression is maintained by FGF signaling and restricted to the neural plate by Vent proteins in the Xenopus embryo. Dev Biol, 2008. 313(1): p. 3071.