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LILY 2-239

Associated website(s):

Suter Lab , Publications , PULSe



Cell biology, neurobiology, nervous system development, advanced light microscopy, neuronal growth cone motility and guidance, cell adhesion and migration, cytoskeletal dynamics, ROS signaling, biomechanics, axonal regeneration


Cell migration plays a critical role during development, adult life, and in various diseases. Important examples include the growing tip of a nerve cell process, the neuronal growth cone, and the invasive behavior of cancer cells. Our laboratory investigates the underlying mechanisms of axonal growth, guidance, and regeneration. We use two main model systems, Aplysia and zebrafish. Using the large Aplysia neurons in culture, we investigate how growth cones integrate their sensor, signaling, and motility functions to achieve directional movements. The power of the zebrafish system enables us to study these processes in living organisms. Our current studies focus on reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling and mechanosensing in neurite growth. A third project involves a drug screen using zebrafish larvae with the aim of identifying novel compounds that enhance axonal regeneration following spinal cord injury. We use a combination of quantitative live cell imaging, cell biological, biophysical, molecular and biochemical techniques to investigate the dynamics and function of adhesion, signaling, and cytoskeletal proteins, and to quantify forces involved in growth cone migration. We hope that our research will not only improve our understanding of the basic cell biology of neuronal growth cones, but also assist the development of new treatments that enhance axonal regeneration in nervous system diseases and injuries.


Postdoctoral Research in Cellular Neurobiology, Yale University, 1995-2000
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Zurich, 1995


2020 Seed for Success Award, Purdue University
2017 Graduate Student Mentoring Award, Department of Biological Sciences
2016 J. Alfred and Martha Chiscon Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching
2016 Purdue Research Foundation International Travel Award
2013 Purdue University Seed for Success Award
2012 Purdue Research Foundation International Travel Award
2011 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, LSAMP Indiana
2005 Purdue University Seed for Success Award
2003 Purdue Research Foundation International Travel Award


NIH R01 “NADPH oxidase regulates growth cone guidance”
Indiana CTSI Pilot Funding for Use of Core Facilities “Confocal imaging of axonal development and regeneration in zebrafish embryos”
Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Program “A Zebrafish Drug Screening Platform for Axonal Regeneration”


Professional Organizations

The Biophysical Society 2014-present
The Society for Neuroscience, 2007-present
The American Society for Cell Biology, 1994-present

Faculty Presentations, 2017-2021

“Src-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of cortactin is critical for growth cone filopodia formation”, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, February 17, 2021
“The role of Nox-derived reactive oxygen species in axonal growth and guidance”, Neuroscience Program, Michigan State University, September 21, 2020.
“Mechanosensing and mechanotransduction in neurite growth”, Biological Sciences Departmental Retreat, Plymouth, IN, November, 16, 2019.
“The role of Nox-derived reactive oxygen species in axonal growth and guidance”, Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, June 12, 2019.
“Neuronal mechanics: an example of nano-bio research”, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, April 25, 2019.
“The role of NADPH oxidase-derived reactive oxygen species in axonal growth and guidance”, Department of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, CA, December 10, 2018.
"Reactive oxygen species in neuronal development and axonal regeneration", Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Seminar Series, Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience Purdue University, February 14, 2018.
"Regulation of axonal growth and guidance by reactive oxygen species", Department of Biology, IPFW, Fort Wayne, IN, December 8, 2017.
"NADPH oxidase-derived ROS regulate retinotectal development", Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience Retreat, St. Joseph, MI, May 18, 2017

Conference Presentations, 2017-2021

Cell Bio Virtual 2020, 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, December 2-16, 2020
Labroots Online Conference Cell Biology, September 23, 2020
50th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, October 19-23, 2019
Society for Free Radical Research Europe meeting “Redox Homeostasis: From Signaling to Damage” in Ferrara, Italy, June 19-21, 2019
58 th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, San Diego, CA, December 8-12, 2018
Toledo CellulART Meeting, Toledo, OH, September 14, 2018

Editorial Boards

Scientific Reports, Neuroscience, 2013-present

Manuscript Reviewer for the following Journals

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
ASN Neuro
Biophysical Journal
Cell Reports
Communications Biology
Developmental Neurobiology
EMBO Journal
FASEB Journal
FEBS letters
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Journal of Cell Biology
Journal of Cell Science
Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Journal of Neurobiology
Journal of Neurochemistry
Journal of Neuroscience
Journal of Neuroscience Methods
Journal of Visualized Experiments
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Nature Cell Biology
Nature Communications
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Neural Development
PLoS Computational Biology
Scientific Reports

Grant Reviewer for the following Agencies

National Institutes of Health (NIH), SYN and NDPR study sections
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Indiana Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund
Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
British Council
Vienna Science and Technology Fund
Bergen Research Foundation
EVPRP Purdue University

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