James A. Marrs, Ph.D.

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

SL 328A
(317) 278-0031
Research Areas:
Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Developmental Neurobiology


My research laboratory uses zebrafish to model fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS; the most severe clinically defined birth defect syndrome caused by prenatal ethanol exposure, which is a subset of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, FASD, an inclusive term for all defects induced by perinatal maternal ethanol consumption). Our experiments and those from other laboratories show that zebrafish is a useful model organism for mechanistic experiments. A detailed understanding of alcohol-induced birth defects will guide us toward future clinical interventions. Our studies are focused on understanding which genes are critical for producing the birth defects among the myriad of gene expression changes induced by ethanol exposure. Our experiments also use rescue treatments like retinoic acid and folic acid that can restore or prevent ethanol induced defects. Molecular genetics and developmental biology studies are used to examine cellular and molecular events during early development, eye development and cardiogenesis.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B. S. in Biology 1984.

University of Illinois at Chicago, Ph. D. in Biology 1991.

Stanford University School of Medicine, Postdoctoral training in epithelial cell biology, 1991-1994.

Publications & Professional Activity

See all publications on PubMed.