Michael T. Veeman, Associate Professor

Michael Veeman

Contact information

110 Ackert Hall
(785) 532-6636


Ph.D. 2003, University of Washington. Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Area(s) of specialization

Morphogenesis of the chordate body plan; developmental and cell biology, functional genomics and quantitative imaging.

Research Focus

We use genetic, molecular and direct imaging methods to study the finely coordinated cell behaviors giving rise to structure and form in developing embryos. Our main model system is the ascidian Ciona. Ascidian (sea squirt) embryos have conserved chordate features including a notochord and a hollow dorsal neural tube, but in the context of an embryo that is much smaller and simpler than vertebrate embryos. This provides an unusual ability to study chordate morphogenesis with fine subcellular detail while simultaneously having a broad, embryo-wide field of view.

We are particularly interested in the morphogenesis of the notochord, as it is one of the defining features of the chordate body plan, it is the first organ to form, and it undergoes complex cell movements and shape changes that are relevant to many developing tissues and organs. In addition to the tools of traditional developmental biology, we also make extensive use of computational image analysis methods to extract quantitative information from large multidimensional images of developing embryos.

Selected Publications

Michael Veeman and Wendy Reeves, 2014. Quantitative and in toto imaging in ascidians: working toward an image-centric systems biology of chordate morphogenesis. Genesis. Epub 9/27 dpi:10.1002/dvg.22828.

Abdul-Wajid S, Veeman MT, Chiba S, Turner TL, Smith WC, 2014. Exploiting the extraordinary genetic polymorphism of Ciona for developmental genetics with whole genome sequencing. Genetics. 197(1):49-59. doi: 10.1534/genetics.114.161778. Epub 2014 Feb 14. PMCID: PMC4012500.

Wendy Reeves*, Rachel Thayer* and Michael Veeman, 2014. Anterior-posterior regionalized gene expression in the Ciona notochord. Dev Dyn. 243(4):612-20. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24101. Epub 2013 Dec 27. PMCID: PMC4060897 (* contributed equally)

Clint Gregory and Michael Veeman, 2013. 3D-printed microwell arrays for Ciona microinjection and timelapse imaging. PLoS One. 8(12):e82307. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082307. eCollection 2013. PMCID: PMC3855702.

Diana Delibaltov, Pratim Ghosh, Volkan Rodoplu, Michael Veeman, William Smith and B.S. Manjunath, 2013. A linear program formulation for the segmentation of Ciona membrane volumes. Med Image Comput Comput Assist Interv. 16(Pt 1):444-51. PMCID: PMC4080842.

Veeman, M.T. and W.C. Smith, 2013. Whole-organ cell shape analysis reveals the developmental basis of ascidian notochord taper. Dev Biol 373(2): p. 281-9. PMCID: PMC3534886.

Veeman, M.T., S. Chiba, and W.C. Smith, 2011. Ciona genetics. Methods Mol Biol 770: p. 401-22. PMCID: PMC3149854.

View the complete publication list in NCBI