Natasza Kurpios, PhD

Department of Molecular Medicine

Associate Professor

Natasza Kurpios' Lab

Department of Molecular Medicine
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
C4-161 Veterinary Medical Center
Ithaca, NY 14853

Office: 607.253.4452
Lab: 607.253.3348

Research Interest

Keeping your organs in shape: Transcriptional and cellular control of tissue morphogenesis. Organ shape acquisition requires intricate coordination of the morphogenetic repertoire during which tissues are bent, pulled, and moved. One striking example is the formation of the digestive system where complex looping and bending events shape the gut tube as it elongates. Our laboratory takes advantage of the chicken embryo as a classical embryological model to understand the molecular and cellular events that direct the formation of tissues and organs during vertebrate embryogenesis. Specifically, we seek to learn how information received from cell signaling is integrated to ultimately determine distinct cellular behaviors and cell shape during development.


  • Ph D, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, 2005
  • B. Sc., Biochemistry, McMaster University, 1999

Biography/Professional Experience

  • 2016-Present, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Cornell University
  • 2009-Present, Tenure-track Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Cornell University
  • 2005-2009, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • 1999-2005, Graduate Doctoral Research, Centre for Functional Genomics, McMaster University
  • 1998-1999, Undergraduate Dissertation Research, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University
  • 1996-1998, Research Associate, Department of Biology, McMaster University


  1. Welsh, I.C., Kwak, H., Chen, F.L., Crossley, J.R., Werner, M., Danko, C.G., Shopland, L.S., Lis, J.T. Zhang, M., Martin, J.F., and Kurpios, N.A. (2015) Embryonic gut laterality is mirrored by asymmetric chromatin architecture at the Pitx2 locus dependent on Pitx2 and CTCF. Cell Rep.13(2):337-349.
  2. Mahadevan, A., Welsh, I.C., Sivakumar, A., Gludish, D.W., Shilvock, A.R., Noden, D.M., Huss, D., Lansford, R., and Kurpios, N.A. (2014) The left-right Pitx2 pathway drives organ-specific arterial and lymphatic development in the intestine.  Dev. Cell 31(6):690-706. COVER ARTICLE
  3. Welsh, I.C., Thomsen, M., Gludish D.W., Alfonso-Parra, C., Bai, Y., Martin, J.F., and Kurpios, N.A. (2013) Integration of left-right Pitx2 transcription and Wnt signaling drives asymmetric gut morphogenesis via Daam2. Dev. Cell 26(6):629-644. COVER ARTICLE, Accompanied by a Commentary.  Faculty of 1000 Prime Recommendation.
  4. Savin, T.,* Kurpios, N.A.,* Shyer, A.E.,* Florescu, P., Liang, H., Mahadevan, L., and Tabin, C.J. (2011) On the growth and form of the gut.  Nature 476(7358):57-62Accompanied by a Commentary. *Equal contributions
  5. Kurpios, N.A.,* Ibañes, M.,* Davis, N.M., Lui, W., Katz, T., Martin, J.F., Izpisúa Belmonte, J.C., and Tabin, C.J. (2008) The direction of gut looping is established by changes in the extracellular matrix and in cell:cell adhesion.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105(25):8499-8506. COVER ARTICLE; Inaugural article. *Equal contributions

Awards and Honors

  • 2012, Robert Hovey Udall Assistant Professorship, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY
  • 2009, Empire Innovation Award Nomination, Dr. J. Appleton, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
  • 2008-2009, CU Advance Faculty Development Grant, National Science Foundation
  • 2006-2009, Graduate Rotation Program Instructor, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 2005, Keystone Symposia Fellowship, Keystone Symposia, Keystone, CO
  • 2002-2005, US Army Medical Research Program, Department of Defence Breast Cancer Research Program, Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.
  • 2003, Carl Freeman Award for Excellence in Research (Doctoral), Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
  • 2002, Carl Freeman Award for Excellence in Research (Masters), Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.
  • 2002, Stem Cell Research Award, Stem Cell Network of Canada, ON