Randall J. Roper


Assistant Professor


B.S.    Microbiology (Molecular Biology emphasis), Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Ph.D.  Immunology and Genetics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Postdoctoral Fellow, Genetics and Development, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Current Research

Our laboratory seeks to understand the mechanisms by which genes in three copies on human chromosome 21 cause developmental abnormalities leading to specific Down syndrome traits. A number of tissues affected by Trisomy 21, including facial skeleton, are partially derived from a transient developmental precursor, the neural crest. Using mouse models of Down syndrome, our work provided the first experimental evidence that trisomy adversely affects neural crest cells. Our laboratory uses genetics, cell and molecular biology, and developmental biology to examine how trisomy affects the development of craniofacial structures. The genetic and cellular mechanisms by which trisomy affects craniofacial development may suggest a common basis for other tissues affected in Down syndrome. Additionally, to better understand how early developmental changes affect individuals with Down syndrome, we are gathering information on developmental phenotypes of infants with Trisomy 21. This phenotypic information will allow us to better define the extent and correlation of infantile traits and hypothesize common developmental processes affected by trisomy. Our long term goal is to apply the knowledge of how and when trisomic genes affect developmental processes to ameliorate or prevent Down syndrome phenotypes.  

Select Publications

Deitz, S.L. and R.J. Roper. 2011. Trisomic and allelic differences influence phenotypic variability during development of Down syndrome mice. Genetics. Sep 16. [Epub ahead of print].

Reinholdt L.G., Y. Ding, G. Gilbert, J.P. Solzak, R.J. Roper, M. Johnson, L.R. Donahue, C. Lutz, and M. Davisson. 2011. Molecular Characterization of the Translocation Breakpoints in the Down Syndrome Mouse Model, Ts65Dn. Mamm Genome.  Sep 28. [Epub ahead of print].

Deitz, S.L., J.D. Blazek, J.P. Solzak and R.J. Roper. 2011. Down Syndrome: A complex and interactive genetic disorder.  pp. 65-96.  “Genetics and Etiology of Down syndrome” Edited by Subrata Dey. InTech Open Access Publisher, Rijeka. Croatia. (ISBN 978-953-307-631-7).

Blazek, J.D., A. Gaddy, R. Meyer, R.J. Roper, and J. Li. 2011. Disruption of bone homeostasis by trisomy in Ts65Dn Down syndrome mice. Bone 48:275-280. Epub 2010 Sep 24.

Blazek, J.D., C.N. Billingsley, A. Newbauer, and R.J. Roper. 2010. Embryonic and not maternal trisomy causes developmental attenuation in the Ts65Dn mouse model for Down syndrome.  Dev Dyn. Jun;239(6):1645-53.

Lorenzi, H., N. Duvall, S. M. Cherry, R. H. Reeves, and R. J. Roper. 2010. PCR prescreen for genotyping the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome. Biotechniques. 48(1):35-8.

Clement K., N. Gustafson, A. Berbert, H. Carroll, C. Merris, A. Olsen, M. Clement, Q. Snell, J. Allen, and R.J. Roper. 2010. PathGen: A transitive gene pathway generator. Bioinformatics. Feb 1;26(3):423-5. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

Roper, R.J., J.F. VanHorn, C. Cain, and R.H. Reeves. 2009. A neural crest deficit in Down syndrome mice is associated with deficient mitotic response to Sonic hedgehog. Mech Dev. 126:212-9. Epub 2008 Nov 21. 

Moore C.S. and R. J. Roper, 2007. The power of comparative and developmental studies for mouse models of Down syndrome. Mamm Genome. 18:431-43. Epub 2007 Jul 26. (Invited review for Mammalian Genome Special Issue “Comparative Analysis of Systems: From Genomes to Physiology”).

Roper, R.J. and R.H. Reeves. 2006. Understanding the basis for Down syndrome phenotypes. PLoS Genet. Mar;2(3):e50.

Roper, R.J., L.L. Baxter, N.G. Saran, D.K. Klinedinst, P.A. Beachy and R.H. Reeves. 2006. Defective cerebellar response to mitogenic Hedgehog signaling in Down syndrome mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 103:1452-6. Epub 2006 Jan 23.

Awards & Honors

Director’s Mentoring Award for Outstanding Leadership and Mentoring of Undergraduate Research, Center for Research and Learning, IUPUI  2011

Inspire Award Finalist-Education, College Mentors for Kids, Indianapolis, IN 2011

IUPUI Trustees Teaching Award   2010

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Mentor of the Year  2010

IUPUI Honors Program Research Fellow   2007-2010