Clifton Warren Ragsdale, PhD

The octopus is rich in evolutionary novelties, from an immense nervous system to prehensile arms to a tremendously sophisticated adaptive coloration system. It is the octopus's brain and behavior that has attracted the greatest study, but much of this research was done in the 20th century and limited by the techniques of the time. The major focus of the Ragsdale laboratory is to bring the modern advances in neuroscience, molecular cell biology and genetic manipulation to the study of cephalopod biology. Our first major step was into genomics and transcriptomics. In 2015, the Ragsdale laboratory, in collaboration with the Rokhsar group at UC-Berkeley, reported the genome of the Ragsdale lab's chosen model organism, Octopus bimaculoides. Current research includes comparative cephalopod genomics, octopus arm regeneration, the organization of the cephalopod nervous system, and the neuroendocrinology of octopus sex and death.



The other focus of the Ragsdale laboratory is the evolutionary developmental neurobiology of the neocortex.

The emergence of the brain non-CpG methylation system in vertebrates.
de Mendoza A, Poppe D, Buckberry S, Pflueger J, Albertin CB, Daish T, Bertrand S, de la Calle-Mustienes E, Gómez-Skarmeta JL, Nery JR, Ecker JR, Baer B, Ragsdale CW, Grützner F, Escriva H, Venkatesh B, Bogdanovic O, Lister R. The emergence of the brain non-CpG methylation system in vertebrates. Nat Ecol Evol. 2021 03; 5(3):369-378.
PMID: 33462491

Evolution of the Chordate Telencephalon.
Briscoe SD, Ragsdale CW. Evolution of the Chordate Telencephalon. Curr Biol. 2019 07 08; 29(13):R647-R662.
PMID: 31287987

Homology, neocortex, and the evolution of developmental mechanisms.
Briscoe SD, Ragsdale CW. Homology, neocortex, and the evolution of developmental mechanisms. Science. 2018 10 12; 362(6411):190-193.
PMID: 30309947

Multiple optic gland signaling pathways implicated in octopus maternal behaviors and death.
Wang ZY, Ragsdale CW. Multiple optic gland signaling pathways implicated in octopus maternal behaviors and death. J Exp Biol. 2018 10 08; 221(Pt 19).
PMID: 30104305

Molecular anatomy of the alligator dorsal telencephalon.
Briscoe SD, Ragsdale CW. Molecular anatomy of the alligator dorsal telencephalon. J Comp Neurol. 2018 07 01; 526(10):1613-1646.
PMID: 29520780

Neocortical Association Cell Types in the Forebrain of Birds and Alligators.
Briscoe SD, Albertin CB, Rowell JJ, Ragsdale CW. Neocortical Association Cell Types in the Forebrain of Birds and Alligators. Curr Biol. 2018 03 05; 28(5):686-696.e6.
PMID: 29456143

More than one way to a central nervous system.
Albertin CB, Ragsdale CW. More than one way to a central nervous system. Nature. 2018 01 04; 553(7686):34-36.
PMID: 29300031

More than one way to a central nervous system.
Albertin CB, Ragsdale CW. More than one way to a central nervous system. Nature. 2018 Jan; 553(7686):34-36.
PMID: 32080638

Cadherin genes and evolutionary novelties in the octopus.
Wang ZY, Ragsdale CW. Cadherin genes and evolutionary novelties in the octopus. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 09; 69:151-157.
PMID: 28627384

The octopus genome and the evolution of cephalopod neural and morphological novelties.
Albertin CB, Simakov O, Mitros T, Wang ZY, Pungor JR, Edsinger-Gonzales E, Brenner S, Ragsdale CW, Rokhsar DS. The octopus genome and the evolution of cephalopod neural and morphological novelties. Nature. 2015 Aug 13; 524(7564):220-4.
PMID: 26268193

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