All Rights for the images reserved to mugley photostream from flickr, if you keep them,please keep the credit.


T: 859-218-3540 |






Trainee   achievements





-Warlen is awarded the Department of Biology Morgan Graduate Fellowship for Fall 2019. CONGRATS to Warlen!!!


-Dr. Vocking has been accepted into the MBL zebrafish genetics course! CONGRATS to Oliver!


Biology Post-Doctoral Researcher Oliver Voecking Receives Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career-Starter Grant

By Jennifer T. Allen



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 20, 2019). Oliver Voecking, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences, recently received a Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career-Starter Grant for his retinal research with zebrafish. The Knights Templar presented Voecking with a check on the University of Kentucky campus in April 2019. 



The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is committed to support research that can help launch the careers of clinical or basic researchers committed to the understanding, prevention and cure of vision threatening diseases in infants and children. With the grant, Voecking will focus his research on analyzing the development of POM cells in zebrafish hoping to drastically increase the understanding of POM development, ultimately developing screening for anterior segment associated diseases, such as corneal dystrophy, cataracts and Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome. 

"I am very grateful to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation for supporting my research,” Voecking said. “This financial help is giving me a great opportunity to continue my work on eye development."

Dr. Vocking is part of Biology Professor Jakub Famulski’s Zebrafish Retinal Development Lab which focuses on the use of zebrafish to analyze the mechanisms of epithelial sheet fusion during retinal development. 

“This is a new and exciting direction for the lab and I am very proud and happy to see Oliver’s efforts recognized through this award. I am sure this will be a launching point for Oliver’s very promising career.” 

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career Starter Grants are awarded each year to support clinical or basic research on conditions that can or may eventually be treated or prevented. 

1st    Lab    paper    published!!!


Nicholas, Carrara*#, Megan Weaver*#, Warlen Piedade*#, Oliver Vocking and J.K. Famulski. Temporal characterization of optic fissure basement membrane composition suggests nidogen may be an initial target of remodeling. 2019.

Developmental Biology, online April 26, 2019   

*co-first authors # graduate student





2nd    Lab    paper    published!!!


Warlen, P. Piedade#, Veith, S$. and J.K Famulski.  Ubiquitin-mediated proteasome degradation   regulates optic fissure fusion. 2018,  Open Biology,

# graduate student   $ undergraduate student






This paper summarizes our work on characterizing the molecular composition of the optic fissure basement membrane during formation, fusion and post fusion of the fissure. This is the first such characterization of this critical structure that is intimately tied to the molecular process of optic fissure fusion. Our findings provide the first clues to the molecular mechanism driving basement membrane remodeling in order to achieve timely fusion and prevent congenital visual defects in the form of coloboma.





This manuscript outlines a novel connection between the ubiquitin-proteasome system and regulation of optic fissure fusion. We outline a molecular mechanism to regulate the steady state levels of pax2a mRNA, a major regulator of optic fissure fusion, via the UPS system. Furthermore, we show that modulation of this system has critical consequences on fissure fusion and is itself regulated by hedgehog morphogenetic signaling. This work provides new avenues of investigation when considering clinical screening for coloboma predisposition or prevention.



hosted  the   2019  midwest   zebrafish   meeting




Famulski Lab zebrafish retinal development