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Randall Roper, Biology Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering Adjunct Professor


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

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Courses Taught / Teaching

BME 38100: Implantable Materials and Biological Response

BIOL 56400: Molecular Genetics and Development


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 GeneticsMolecular Biology Neuroscience, Regenerative Biology

Publications & Professional Activities

Stringer, M., C.R. Goodlett and R.J. Roper. 2017. Targeting trisomic treatments: Optimizing Dyrk1a inhibition to improve Down syndrome deficits. Mol Genet Genomic Med. 5:451-465. PMID: 28944229

Stringer, M., I. Abeysekera, J. Thomas, J, LaCombe, K. Stancombe, R.J. Stewart, K.J. Dria, J.M. Wallace, C.R. Goodlett, and R.J. Roper. 2017. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) consumption in the Ts65Dn model of Down syndrome fails to improve behavioral deficits and is detrimental to skeletal phenotypes. Physiol Behav. 177:230-241. Epub 2017 May 3. PMID: 28478033

Abeysekera, I., J. Thomas, T.M. Georgiadis, A.G. Berman, M.A. Hammond, K.J. Dria, J.M. Wallace, and R.J. Roper. 2016. Differential effects of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate containing supplements on correcting skeletal defects in a Down syndrome mouse model. Mol Nutr Food Res. 60:717-26. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PMID: 26748562

McElyea, S.D., J.M. Starbuck, D.M. Tumbleson-Brink, E. Harrington, J.D. Blazek, A. Ghoneima, K. Kula, and R.J. Roper. 2016. Influence of prenatal EGCG treatment and Dyrk1a dosage reduction on craniofacial features associated with Down syndrome. Hum Mol Genet. 25:4856-4869. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PMID:27599746

Blazek J.D., Abeysekera I., Li J., Roper R.J.  Rescue of the abnormal skeletal phenotype in Ts65Dn Down syndrome mice using genetic and therapeutic modulation of trisomic Dyrk1a.  Hum Mol Genet. 24:5687-96. Epub 2015 Jul 23. PMID: 26206885

Stringer M., Abeysekera I., Dria K.J., Roper R.J., Goodlett C.R.  Low dose EGCG treatment beginning in adolescence does not improve cognitive impairment in a Down syndrome mouse model.  Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2015; 138:70-79. Epub 2015 Sep 10. PMID: 26363314

Goffinski, A., M.A. Stanley, N. Shepherd, N. Duvall, S.B. Stone, C. Davis, M.J. Bull, and R.J. Roper. 2015. Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Young Infants with Down Syndrome Evaluated in a Down Syndrome Specialty Clinic. Am J Med Genet A. 167:324-30. Epub 2015 Jan 13. PMID: 2560465

Blazek, J.D., A. Gaddy, R. Meyer, R.J. Roper, and J. Li. 2011. Disruption of bone homeostasis by trisomy in Ts65Dn Down syndrome mice. Bone 48:275-280. Epub 2010 Sep 24. PMID: 20503361

Roper, R.J., J.F. VanHorn, C. Cain, and R.H. Reeves. 2009. A neural crest deficit in Down syndrome mice is associated with deficient mitotic response to Sonic hedgehog. Mech Dev. 126:212-9. Epub 2008 Nov 21. PMID: 19056491

Roper, R.J. and R.H. Reeves. 2006. Understanding the basis for Down syndrome phenotypes. PLoS Genet. Mar;2(3):e50. PMID: 16596169

Roper, R.J., L.L. Baxter, N.G. Saran, D.K. Klinedinst, P.A. Beachy and R.H. Reeves. 2006. Defective cerebellar response to mitogenic Hedgehog signaling in Down syndrome mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 103:1452-6. Epub 2006 Jan 23. PMID: 16432181

Professional Affiliations

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

Honors, Awards and Grants

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

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