Konstantinos Zarbalis

Konstantinos Zarbalis

Position Title
Associate Professor

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine

Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Northern California

Profile Introduction

Molecular mechanisms underlying craniofacial and forebrain development.

Research Interests

Our research interests focus on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that direct the development of the craniofacial skeleton and forebrain. Particular emphasis is put on the analysis of the molecular program underlying the differentiation of cranial neural crest cells. Additional projects investigate the cues that guide the migration, differentiation, and connectivity of cortical neurons.  In our studies, we take advantage of mouse lines with striking craniofacial or neurodevelopmental defects caused by mutations in specific genes. Our laboratory is seeking highly motivated graduate students who would like to pursue a project in prenatal developmental biology. Undergraduates who are interested in developmental biology and are able to commit for at least two semesters are also encouraged to apply for research internships.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics
  • Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
  • Neuroscience

Specialties / Focus

  • Cellular Physiology
  • Developmental Physiology
  • Neurophysiology


  • 1995 B.S. Zoology Technical University Munich
  • 2000 Ph.D. Developmental Neurobiology Technical University Munich


Napoli E., Liu S., Marsilio I., Zarbalis K., Giulivi C. Lipid-based DNA/siRNA transfection agents disrupt neuronal bioenergetics and mitophagy. Biochem J. (2017) pii: BCJ20170632. doi: 10.1042/BCJ20170632.

Gompers A. S., Su-Feher L., Ellegood J., Copping N. A, Riyadh M. A., Stradleigh T. W., Pride M. C. Schaffler M. D., Wade A. A, Catta-Preta R., Zdilar I., Louis S., Kaushik G., Mannion B., Plajzer-Frick I., Afzal V., Visel A., Pennacchio L., Dickel D., Lerch J. P., Crawley J. N., Zarbalis K. S., Silverman J. L., Nord A. S. Germline Chd8 haploinsufficiency alters brain development in mouse. Nat. Neuro. (2017). doi: 10.1038/nn.4592.

Wu D., Gu R., Sarin R., Zavodovskaya R., Chen C-P., Christiansen, B. A., Zarbalis K. S., Adamopoulos I. E. Autophagy-linked FYVE containing protein Wdfy3 interacts with TRAF6 and modulates RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis. J Autoimmun. 2016 Sep;73:73-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2016.06.004.

Kaushik G., Huber D. P., Aho K., Finney B., Bearden S., Zarbalis K. S. Thomas M. A.: Maternal exposure to carbamazepine at environmental concentrations can cross intestinal and placental barriers. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 474(2):291-5 (2016). doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.04.088.

Kaushik G., Zarbalis K. S.: Prenatal neurogenesis in autism spectrum disorders. Front. Chem. 4 (2016). doi: 10.3389/fchem.2016.00012

Sohn J., Orosco L. A., Guo F., Chung S. H., Bannerman P., Mills Ko E., Zarbalis K. S., Deng W., Pleasure D. The subventricular zone continues to generate corpus callosum and rostral migratory stream astroglia in normal adult mice. J. Neurosci, 35(9) (2015) 3756-3763. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3454-14.2015.

Orosco L. A., Ross A. P., Cates S. L, Scott S. E., Wu D., Sohn J., Pleasure D., Pleasure S. J., Adamopoulos I. E., Zarbalis K. S. Loss of Wdfy3 in mice alters cerebral cortical neurogenesis reflecting aspects of the autism pathology. Nat. Commun. 5:4692. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5692. (2014).

Adamopoulos I. E., Suzuki E., Chao C., Gorman D., Shin H., Laface D., Maverakis E., Zarbalis K. S., Geissler R., Gershwin M. E., Bowman E. P. Il-17A induces bone destruction and epidermal hyperplasia associated with psoriatic arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204782 (2014).

Youngshik C., Zarbalis K. S., Pleasure S. J. Neural crest-derived mesenchymal cells require Wnt signaling for their development and drive invagination of the telencephalic midline. PLoS One 9(2): e86025 (2014).

Ross A. P., Zarbalis K. S. The emerging roles of ribosome biogenesis in craniofacial development. Front Physiol. 5:26. (2014).

Ross A., Mansilla M. A., Youngshik C., Helminski S., Maute R. L., May S. R., Hozyasz K. K., Wójcicki P., Mostowska A., Davidson B., Adamopoulos I. E., Pleasure S. J., Murray J.C., Zarbalis K. S. A mutation in mouse Pak1ip1 causes orofacial clefting while human PAK1IP1 maps to 6p24 translocation breaking points associated with orofacial clefting. PLoS One 8(7): e69333 (2013).

Sohn J., Selvaraj V., Wakayama K., Orosco L. A., Lee E., Guo F., Horiuchi M., Zarbalis K., Itoh T., Deng W., Pleasure D. PEDF is a novel oligodendrogenic morphogen acting on the adult SVZ and corpus callosum. J. Neurosci. 32(35) (2012) 12152-12164.

Zarbalis K.*, Choe, Y., Siegenthaler J. A., Orosco L. A., Pleasure S. J.* Meningeal defects alter the tangential migration of cortical interneurons in Foxc1hith/hith mice. Neural Development 7:2 (2012).

Endoh-Yamagami S., Karkar K. M., May S. R., Cobos I., Thwin M. T., Long J. E., Ashique A. M., Zarbalis K., John L.R. Rubenstein, Andrew S. Peterson. A mutation in the pericentrin gene causes abnormal interneuron migration to the olfactory bulb in mice. Dev. Biol. 340 (2010) 41-53.

Wizenmann A., Brunet I., Lam J., Sonnier L., Beurdeley M., Zarbalis K., Weisenhorn-Vogt D., Weinl C., Dwivedy A., Joliot A., Holt C., Wurst W., Prochiantz A. Extracellular Engrailed participates in the topographic guidance of retinal axons in vivo. Neuron 64 (2009) 355-366.

Siegenthaler J. A., Ashique A. M.*, Zarbalis K.*, Patterson K. P., Hecht J. H., Kane M. A., Folias A. E., Choe Y., May S. R., Kume T., Napoli J. L., Peterson A. S., Pleasure S. J. Retinoic acid from the meninges regulates cortical neuron generation. Cell 139 (2009) 597-609.

Zarbalis K.*, Siegenthaler J. A.*, Choe Y., May S. R., Peterson A. S., Pleasure S. J.: Cortical dysplasia and skull defects in mice with a novel Foxc1 allele reveal the role of meningeal differentiation in regulating cortical development. PNAS 104 (2007) 14002–14007.

Konstantinova I., Nikolova G., Ohara-Imaizumi M., Meda P., Kucera T., Zarbalis K., Wurst W., Nagamatsu S., Lammert E.: EphA-Ephrin-A-mediated beta cell communication regulates insulin secretion from pancreatic islets. Cell 129 (2007) 359-370.

Dow L. E., Kauffman J. S., Caddy J., Zarbalis K., Peterson A. S., Jane S. M., Russell S. M., Humbert P. O.:  The tumor-suppressor Scribble dictates cell polarity during directed epithelial migration: regulation of Rho GTPase recruitment to the leading edge. Oncogene 26 (2007) 2272-2282 [with correction in 26 (2007) 5692].

May S. R., Ashique A. M., Karlenc M., Wang B., Shen Y., Zarbalis K., Reiter J., Ericson J., Peterson A. S.: Loss of the retrograde motor for IFT disrupts localization of Smo to cilia and prevents the expression of both activator and repressor functions of Gli. Dev Biol. 287 (2005) 378-89.

Zarbalis, K.*, May, R. S.*, Shen, Y., Ekker, M., Rubenstein, J. L. R., Peterson, A.: A focused and efficient genetic screening strategy in the mouse: Identification of mutations that disrupt cortical development.  PLoS Biology 2 (2004) 1177-1187.

Bolz, J., Mühlfriedel, S., Güllmar, A., Peuckert, C., Zarbalis, K., Wurst, W., Masaaki, T., Levitt, P.: Multiple roles of ephrins during the formation of thalamocortical projections: Maps and more.  J. Neurobiol. 59 (2004) 82-94.

Uziel D., Mühlfriedel S., Zarbalis K., Wurst W., Levitt P., Bolz J.: Miswiring of limbic thalamocortical projections in the absence of ephrin-A5. J. Neurosci. 22 (2002) 9352-9357.

Knöll B.*, Zarbalis K.*, Wurst W., Drescher U.: A role for the EphA family in the topographic targeting of vomeronasal axons. Development 128 (2001) 895-906.

Zarbalis K. and Wurst W.: Expression domains of murine ephrin-A5 in the pituitary and hypothalamus. Mech. Dev. 93 (2000) 165-168.

Zarbalis K., Chatterjee B., Löster J., Werner T., Graw J.: Sequence analysis of the bB2-crystallin cDNA of  hamster containing a domain conserved among vertebrates. Gene 174 (1996) 181-184.