Marcos Simoes-Costa
Assistant Professor
Nancy & Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences

Marcos Simoes-Costa




Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics
Cornell University
435 Biotechnology Building
Ithaca, NY 14853


Web Site

Department Profile

Marcos Simoes-Costa received a BA in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in 2004 and a PhD in Cell and Tissue Biology from the University of São Paulo in 2009. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Dr. Marianne E. Bronner, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology from 2009-2016. He was appointed as an Assistant Professor and the Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences in November 2016 at Cornell University.


I am interested in decoding the molecular programs that control cell fate decisions during embryonic development. To understand this process, we study the formation and differentiation of a stem cell population called the neural crest. Our research group combines state of the art developmental biology techniques with systems-level approaches, such as transcriptomics and epigenomic analysis, to characterize novel regulatory circuits controlling neural crest differentiation in amniote model systems (chick, mouse, and stem cells). We focus on how transcription factors and signaling systems are organized into regulatory circuits that drive multipotent progenitors into adopting a specific cell fate. Ultimately, our goal is to guide differentiation of stem cells into distinct cell types for the purpose of repair and regeneration, in a way that recapitulates how this process occurs in vivo.

Selected Publications

Simoes-Costa M, Bronner ME. (2016). Reprogramming avian neural crest axial identity and cell fate. Science 352 (6293), 1570-1573.

Bronner ME, Simoes-Costa M. (2016). The neural crest migrating into the 21st century. Current Topics in Developmental Biology. 116:115-34.

Simoes-Costa M, Stone M, Bronner ME. (2015). Wnt effector Axud1 cooperates with neural plate border genes to drive neural crest specification. Developmental Cell. 34(5):544-554.

Green S, Simoes-Costa M, Bronner, ME. (2015) Evolution of vertebrates as viewed from the crest. Nature. 23; 520(7548):474-82.

Simoes-Costa M, Bronner ME. (2015) Establishing neural crest identity: a gene regulatory recipe. Development. 142(2):242-257.

Simoes-Costa M, Tan-Cabugao J, Antoshechkin I, Sauka-Spengler T, Bronner ME. (2014) Transcriptome analysis reveals novel players in the gene regulatory network controlling cranial neural crest development. Genome Research. 24(2):281-90.

Simoes-Costa M, Bronner ME. (2013) Insights into neural crest development and evolution from genomic analysis. Genome Research. 23(7):1069-80.

Simoes-Costa MS, McKeown SJ, Tan-Cabugao J, Sauka-Spengler T, Bronner ME. (2012) Dynamic and differential regulation of stem cell factor FoxD3 in the neural crest is encrypted in the genome. PLoS Genetics. 8(12):e1003142.