Randall Roper, Ph.D.

Biology Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering Adjunct Associate Professor

LD 220D
(317) 274-8131
Research Areas:
Developmental Biology | Genetics | Developmental Neurobiology


Our research seeks to understand the genetic and developmental bases of phenotypes related to Trisomy 21 or Down syndrome (DS).  We have examined skeletal malformations associated with DS including the typical craniofacial features seen in all individuals with DS as well as changes to the appendicular skeleton. 

Using mouse models of Down syndrome, our work provided the first experimental evidence that trisomy adversely affects neural crest cells, precursors to the craniofacial skeleton.

Currently we are performing preclinical studies to test treatments for specific DS traits by targeting gene products that are overexpressed because of trisomy.  Additionally, we are examining changes in expression of trisomic genes as well as others throughout the genome and correlating this information with phenotypic and developmental alterations. In collaboration with the Down Syndrome Clinic at Riley Hospital, we are also defining the co-occurrence and variability of debilitating traits in infants with DS. 

Through our preclinical, genetic and phenotypic studies, we will better define how three copies of genes on human chromosome 21 cause traits associated with DS as well as understand how genetic variability affects the severity of DS traits. Our long term goal is to apply the knowledge of how and when trisomic genes affect developmental processes to ameliorate Trisomy 21 phenotypes.  

Research Areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Regenerative Biology


B.S.    Microbiology (Molecular Biology emphasis), Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Ph.D.  Immunology and Genetics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Postdoctoral Fellow, Genetics and Development, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Publications & Professional Activity

See all publications on PubMed.


Director, IUPUI Graduate Mentoring Center

President, IUPUI School of Science Faculty

Advisory Board, Center for Research and Learning, IUPUI

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Trisomy 21 Research Society

International Mammalian Genome Society

Indiana University Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine

Institutional Biosafety Committee, Butler University


NIH/NICHD HD090603     

“Development and treatment of skeletal deficits in a Down syndrome mouse model”

Alvin S. Bynum Mentoring Award for Faculty at IUPUI 2015

IUPUI Athletics Favorite Professor Award 2014

Director's Mentoring Award for Outstanding Leadership and Mentoring of Undergraduate Research, Center for Research and Learning, IUPUI  2011

IUPUI Trustees Teaching Award   2010

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Mentor of the Year  2010

IUPUI Honors Program Research Fellow   2007-2010