Paul Skoglund

Research Assistant Professor of Biology
332 PLSB
(434) 243-2596


  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1986
  • Ph. D., University of California, San Diego, 1996
  • Postdoctoral Research, University of Virginia, 1997- 2000

Research Interests

Research in our laboratory is focused on the molecular basis for vertebrate embryonic morphogenesis.  We use developing Xenopus laevis (African Clawed Frog) embryos as a model system to study embryonic shape changes during gastrulation and axial extension. Pioneering work from Ray Keller had established that much of early embryonic morphogenesis is accomplished by convergence and extension, a mechanism by which patterned, local cell intercalation reorganizes cell neighbor relationships and causes embryo shape change. We have identified a cortical actin network in intercalating cells that is required for intercalation, normal gastrulation, and axial extension. Recent work has been focused on regulators of this cortical actin network, for example myosin regulatory light chain and the factors that regulate myosin II contractility as well as how convergence (tensile) forces can be propagated across tissue undergoing morphogenesis .  

Relevant Publications

  • Pfister, K., Shook, DR., Chang, C., Keller, R.,  and Skoglund, P. “Molecular Model for Force Production and Transmission  during Vertebrate Gastrulation.”  Development. 2016 Feb 15;143(4):715-27.

  • Eagleson, G., K. Pfister, A. L. Knowlton, P. Skoglund, R. Keller and P. T. Stukenberg. 2015. Kif2a depletion generates chromosome segregation and pole coalescence defects in animal caps and inhibits gastrulation of the Xenopus embryo. Mol Biol Cell 26(5): 924-937.

  • Skoglund, P., and Keller R. “Integration of planar cell polarity and ECM signaling in elongation of the vertebrate body plan.”  Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Oct. 22 (5) 589-96.

  • Rolo, A.; Skoglund P.; and Keller R. “Morphogenetic movements driving neural tube closure in Xenopus require myosin IIB.” Dev. Bio.2009 Mar 15;327(2):327-38.

  • Skoglund, P., Rolo, A., Chen, X., Gumbiner, B., and Keller, R. “Convergence and extension at gastrulation require a myosin IIB-dependent cortical actin network.”  Development. 2008 Aug; 135(14)2435-44.

  • Keller, R., Shook, D., and Skoglund, P. The forces that shape embryos: physical aspects of convergent extension by cell intercalation. Phys Biol 2008 Apr 10;5(1):015007.

  • Skoglund, P., and Keller RE.:” Xenopus fibrillin regulates directed convergence and extension.”  Dev Biol. 2007 Jan 15;301(2):404-16.