Michael Taylor, PhD

Position title: Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences Division

Email: michael.taylor@wisc.edu

Website: Michael Taylor, PhD's website

Phone: 608-262-1939

Organ System/Disease Focus
Blood-brain barrier, CNS angiogenesis, Neural stem cells, Neuroinflammation
Aligned Research Focus
Basic stem cell science

Our laboratory studies the interactions between brain endothelial cells (BECs) and neural stem cells to investigate the development and function of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) using both transgenic and mutant zebrafish lines. The BBB plays a vital role in diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Dysfunction of the BBB is common to several neurological disorders, including stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and brain tumors, where BECs lose barrier properties, gain fenestrations, and increase permeability. This physical and chemical barrier prevents the free exchange of many therapeutic agents, presenting a challenging problem for the treatment of many neurological diseases. Conversely, when the BBB is compromised in diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders, brain tumors, stroke, and multiple sclerosis, inflammatory conditions often result in the infiltration of peripheral immune cells, contributing to the pathology of the disease. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of BBB formation is essential to provide therapeutic insights into treating these diseases. Our recent discoveries have revealed novel insights into the mechanisms of brain vasculature development that will be impactful for human health and disease.


Henson, H. E. and Taylor, M. R. (2020) A sart1 zebrafish mutant results in developmental defects in the central nervous system. Cells 9:2340.

Gawdzik, J. C., Yue, M. S., Martin, N. R., Elemans, L. M. H., Lanham, K. A., Heideman, W., Rezendes, R., Baker, T. R., Taylor, M. R., Plavicki, J. S. (2018) sox9b is required in cardiomyocytes for cardiac morphogenesis and function. Scientific Reports 8:13906.

Umans, R. A. Henson, H. E., Mu, F., Parupalli, C., Ju, B., Peters, J. L., Lanham, K. A., Plavicki, J. S., and Taylor, M. R. (2017). CNS angiogenesis and barriergenesis occur simultaneously. Developmental Biology 425:101-108. (Cover art)

Henson, H. E., Parupalli, C., Ju, B., Taylor, M. R. (2014) Functional and genetic analysis of choroid plexus development in zebrafish. Frontiers in Neuroscience 8:364.