Research Faculty

1130 St. Nicholas Avenue
ICRC, Room 311
New York, NY 10032

Phone: 212-851-4781
Education and Training
Ph.D. 1989 Columbia University
Research Fellowship 1989-93 University Louis Pasteur
Research Fellowship 1993-97 Columbia University

Anatomy & Cell Biology
Genetics & Development
Herbert Irving Center
Integrated Program

Cathy Lee Mendelsohn, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Urology, Pathology & Cell Biology (Institute of Human Nutrition) and Genetics & Development
Research Summary

Identification of progenitors important for Urothelial Development and Regeneration, and cells of origin for bladder cancer.
The urothelium is a specialized epithelium extending from the renal pelvis to the bladder that is critical for preventing exchange of water and toxic substances between the urinary tract and the blood. The urothelium is also thought to be a source of cells that generate different types of bladder cancers, including carcinoma in situ, papillary carcinoma, invasive cancers and squamous cell carcinoma.

-Using mouse models in fate mapping studies to identify progenitors that give rise to the urothelium during development and regeneration, coupled with RNAseq to identify signaling pathways that are normally important for these events.

-We showed recently that vitamin A (retinoic acid) is required in distinct progenitor populations for urothelial development and regeneration, respectively. To understand how retinoids work, we are sorting different urothelial cells from RA-mutants and controls then comparing their gene expression profiles using RNAseq.
-We are using mouse models of carcinogenesis coupled with fate mapping to identify cells of origin that give rise to papillary carcinoma, carcinoma in situ, squamous cell carcinoma and invasive bladder cancers.

Developmental Studies to understand the etiology of urinary tract birth defects.
We are interested in the causes of hydronephrosis, a birth defect that in humans and mouse models is associated with severe kidney damage. Hydronephrosis can be caused by abnormally positioned distal ureters, which join the bladder outside the proper insertion site, or can be linked to bladder/urethral abnormalities such as urethral valves, a common defect found in newborn boys that results in urethral obstruction, bilateral hydronephrosis and renal damage. We are currently studying the cause of distal ureter abnormalities using Caspase knockout mice in which apoptosis, which is critical for proper insertion of ureter in the bladder is impaired.

Selected Publications

Gandhi, D., Molotkov, A., Batourina, E., Schneider, K., Dan, H., Reiley, M., Laufer, E., Metzger, D., Liang, F., Liao, Y., Sun, T.T., Aronow, B., Rosen, R., Mauney, J., Adam, R., Rosselot, C., Van Batavia, J., McMahon, A., McMahon, J., Guo, J.J., and Mendelsohn, C. (2013). Retinoid signaling in progenitors controls specification and regeneration of the urothelium. Dev Cell 26, 469-482.

Paroly, S., Wang, F., Spraggon, L., Merregaert, J., Batourina, E., Schmidt-Ott, K., Grimmond, S., Little, M., and Mendelsohn, C. (2013). Stromal protein Ecm1 regulates ureteric bud patterning and nephron differentiation. Plos1 In press.

Chia, I., Grote, D., Marcotte, M., Batourina, E., Mendelsohn, C., and Bouchard, M. (2011). Nephric duct insertion is a crucial step in urinary tract maturation that is regulated by a Gata3-Raldh2-Ret molecular network in mice. Development 138, 2089-2097.

Rosselot, C., Spraggon, L., Chia, I., Batourina, E., Riccio, P., Lu, B., Niederreither, K., Dolle, P., Duester, G., Chambon, P., Costantini, F., Gilbert, T., Molotkov, A., and Mendelsohn, C. (2010). Non-cell-autonomous retinoid signaling is crucial for renal development. Development 137, 283-292.

Chi, X., Michos, O., Shakya, R., Riccio, P., Enomoto, H., Licht, J.D., Asai, N., Takahashi, M., Ohgami, N., Kato, M., Mendelsohn, C., and Costantini, F. (2009). Ret-dependent cell rearrangements in the Wolffian duct epithelium initiate ureteric bud morphogenesis. Dev Cell 17, 199-209.

Viana, R., Batourina, E., Huang, H., Dressler, G.R., Kobayashi, A., Behringer, R.R., Shapiro, E., Hensle, T., Lambert, S., and Mendelsohn, C. (2007). The development of the bladder trigone, the center of the anti-reflux mechanism. Development 134, 3763-3769.

Schmidt-Ott, K.M., Chen, X., Paragas, N., Levinson, R.S., Mendelsohn, C.L., and Barasch, J. (2006). c-kit delineates a distinct domain of progenitors in the developing kidney. Dev Biol 299, 238-249.

Batourina, E., Tsai, S., Lambert, S., Sprenkle, P., Viana, R., Dutta, S., Hensle, T., Wang, F., Niederreither, K., McMahon, A.P., Carroll, T.J., and Mendelsohn, C.L. (2005). Apoptosis induced by vitamin A signaling is crucial for connecting the ureters to the bladder. Nat Genet 37, 1082-1089.

Batourina, E., Choi, C., Paragas, N., Bello, N., Hensle, T., Costantini, F.D., Schuchardt, A., Bacallao, R.L., and Mendelsohn, C.L. (2002). Distal ureter morphogenesis depends on epithelial cell remodeling mediated by vitamin A and Ret. Nat Genet 32, 109-115.

Batourina, E., Gim, S., Bello, N., Shy, M., Clagett-Dame, M., Srinivas, S., Costantini, F., and Mendelsohn, C. (2001). Vitamin A controls epithelial/mesenchymal interactions through Ret expression. Nat Genet 27, 74-78.

Honors and Awards

1988 Richard Parker Memorial Award for outstanding graduate work

1990 National Research Service Award

1993 Fellowship: Association pour la Recherche Contra le Cancer


Mouse models, Organ regeneration and augmentation, epithelial progenitors, bladder cancer, urinary tract infection and regeneration, development of the urinary tract, retinoic acid signaling

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