Dr. Niswander is the Chair of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder. The Niswander lab investigates mouse models of embryonic development with the overarching goal of providing insights into fundamental developmental processes, major human birth defects and potential clinical therapies. Her multi-disciplinary studies investigate the interplay among genes, environment, and epigenetic mechanisms. Her studies over the years have provided a unique perspective on the molecular mechanisms that control the formation of the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as lung, limb, and neuromuscular development. Her lab developed time-lapse imaging methods to visualize and quantify the cell and tissue behaviors during embryonic morphogenesis. Current studies focus on the common and severe birth defect wherein the neural tube fails to close, resulting in neural tube defects (NTDs, such as spina bifida), and early neural progenitor specification and differentiation, defects which can lead to microcephaly and other neurological disorders.