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Steven A Vokes

Associate Professor
Molecular Biosciences

Understanding how transcriptional repressors, especially underlying Hedgehog signaling, interface with chromatin to regulate development


Phone: 512-232-8359

Office Location
MBB 1.312

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University (2008)
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin (2002)
B.A., Swarthmore College (1997)

Our major research interests lie in understanding the transcriptional and cis-regulatory mechanisms underlying Hedgehog signaling during embryonic development and cancer. Our experimental approach is centered on the mouse model system, where we employ a combination of genetic, molecular and genomic approaches.

Our current efforts are focused on two major questions:

  • How do transcription factors mediate Hedgehog signaling?
  • How are multiple signaling pathways integrated at the transcriptional level?


2017 Tabler, J.M., Rigney, M.M., Berman, G.J., Gopalakrishnan, S., Heude, E., Al-Lami H., Yannakoudakis, B.Z., Fitch, R.D., Carter, C.M. Vokes, S.A. Liu, K.J., Tajbakhsh,S., Egnor, R., and Wallingford, J.B. Cilia-mediated Hedgehog signaling controls form and function in the mammalian larynx. eLife 6:e19153.

2016 Norrie, J.L., Li, Q., Co, S., Huang, B., Ding, D., Uy, J.C., Ji, Z., Mackem, S., Bedford, M.T., Galli, A., Ji, H. and Vokes, S.A. PRMT5 is essential for the maintenance of chondrogenic progenitor cells in the limb bud. Development 143:4608-4619.

2016 Huang, B., Trofka, A., Furusawa, A., Norrie, J.L., Rabinowitz, A.H., Vokes, S.A., Taketo, M., Zakany, J. and Mackem, S. An interdigit signaling center instructs coordinate phalanx-joint formation governed by 5'Hoxd-Gli3 antagonism. Nature Communications 7:12903.

2016 Li, Q., Giovanetti, S.M., Ji, Z., Ji, H., Kim, J., Person, M.D. and Vokes, S.A. The pluripotency factor NANOG binds to GLI proteins and represses Hedgehog-mediated transcription. Journal of Biological Chemistry 291: 7171-7182.

2016 Ji, Z., Vokes, S.A., Dang, C.V. and Ji, H. Turning publicly available gene expression data into discoveries using Gene Set Context Analysis. Nucleic Acids Research pii: gkv873.

     2015 Lewandowski, J.P., Du, F., Zhang, S., Powell, M.B., Falkenstein, K.N.,  Ji, H. and Vokes, S.A. Spatiotemporal regulation of GLI target genes in the mammalian limb bud. Developmental Biology 406:92-103.

2014 Hoffmann,A.D., Yang, X.H., Burnicka-Turek, O., Bosman, J.D., Ren, X., Hanson, E.E., Steimle, J.D., Vokes, S.A., McMahon, A.P., Kalinichenko, V.V., and Moskowitz, I.P. Foxf genes integrate Tbx5 and Hedgehog pathways in the second heart field for cardiac septation. PLOS Genetics 10:e1004604.

2014 Norrie, J.L., Lewandowski, J.P., Bouldin, C.M., Amarnath, S., Li, Q., Vokes, M.S., Ehrlich, L.I., Harfe, B.D., and Vokes, S.A., Dynamics of BMP Signaling in limb bud mesenchyme and polydactyly. Developmental Biology 393:270-81

2014 Li, Q., Lewandowski, J.P., Powell, M.B., Norrie, J.L., Cho, S., Vokes, S.A., A Gli silencer is required for robust repression of Gremlin in the vertebrate limb bud, Development 141: 1906-1914

2014 Lewandowski, J.P, Pursell, T.A., Rabinowitz, A.H., Vokes, S.A., Manipulating gene expression and signaling activity in cultured mouse limb bud cells, Developmental Dynamics 243:928-36

2014 Falkenstein, K.N. and Vokes, S.A., Transcriptional regulation of graded hedgehog signaling. Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology 33:73–80

2013 Liu J, Li Q, Kuehn MR, Litingtung Y, Vokes SA, Chiang C., Sonic hedgehog signaling directly targets Hyaluronic Acid Synthase 2, an essential regulator of phalangeal joint patterning, Developmental Biology 375: 160-171 

2013 Momb J, Lewandowski JP, Bryant JD, Fitch R, Surman DR, Vokes SA, Appling DR, Deletion of Mthfd1l causes embryonic lethality and neural tube and craniofacial defects in mice, Proc Natl Acad Sci 110: 549-554 

2012 Rabinowitz, A.H., Vokes, S.A., Integration of the transcriptional networks regulating limb morphogenesis, Developmental Biology 368: 165-180 

2010 Lee E.Y., Ji H, Ouyang Z, Zhou B, Ma W, Vokes SA, McMahon AP, Wong WH, Scott MP, Hedgehog pathway-regulated gene networks in cerebellum development and tumorigenesis., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107: 9736-9741 

2010 Niakan, K.K., Ji, H., Maehr, R., Vokes, S.A., Rodolfa, K.T., Sherwood, R.I., Yamaki, M., Dimos, J.T., Chen, A.E., Melton, D.A., McMahon, A.P., Eggan, K. , Sox17 promotes differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells by directly regulating extraembryonic gene expression and indirectly antagonizing self-renewal, Genes & Development 24: 312-326 

2009 Nishi, Y., Ji, H., Wong, W.H., McMahon, A.P., and Vokes, S.A., Modeling the Spatio-Temporal Network that Drives Patterning in the Vertebrate Central Nervous System, BBA - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms 1789: 299-305 

2008 Vokes, S.A., Ji, H., Wong, W.H., and McMahon, A.P. , Whole Genome Identification and Characterization of Gli Cis-Regulatory Circuitry in Hedgehog-Mediated Mammalian Limb Development., Genes & Development 22: 2651-2663 

Developmental Biology (BIO349)