go to The University of Arizona website

Todd Camenisch, PhD

Associate Professor

Director, Economic Development and Strategic Partnerships

BIO5 Institute Member

Pharmacology & Toxicology
Primary Phone: 520-626-0240
Fax: 520-626-2466
Location: Pharmacy (Skaggs) Room 234

The focus of the laboratory is investigating the integration between extracellular matrix and growth factor receptor signaling during heart morphogenesis. The emphasis is on heart septae and valve formation.

We have established that hyaluronan, a matrix sugar, is able to modulate receptor tyrosine kinase activity during early heart valve morphogenesis. We believe the EGFR family of receptors and cognate ligands play integral functions during heart development. This growth factor signaling activity is most likely context specific in regards to matrix components, proteases and growth factor presence. Thus experimental approaches are designed to decipher this complex developmental process.


BS, University of Arizona, Tucson, 1991, Microbiology/Immunology

PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998, Microbiology/Immunology


Research Articles

1. Harris, D.T., Kapur, R., Frye, C., Acevedo, A., Camenisch, T.D., Jaso-Fredmann, L., and Evans, D.L. A species conserved NK cell antigen receptor is a novel vimentin like molecule. Dev. and Comp. Immunol. 16(5): 395-403, 1992.

2. Harris, D.T., Camenisch, T.D., Jaso-Friedman, L., and Evans, D. Expression of an evolutionary conserved function-associated molecule on sheep, horse, and cattle natural killer cells. Veterinary Immunol. and Immunopathol. 38(3-4):273-282, 1993.

3. Camenisch, T.D., Jaso-Friedman, L., Evans, D., and Harris, D.T. Expression of a novel function-associated molecule on cells mediating spontaneous cytolysis in swine. Dev. and Comp. Immunol. 17: 277-282, 1993.

4. Nguyen, M., Camenisch, T., Snouwaert, J.N., Hicks, E., Coffman, T.M., Anderson, P.A., Malouf, N.N., Koller, B.H. The prostaglandin receptor EP4 triggers remodelling of the cardiovascular system at birth. Nature 390(6655):78-81, 1997.

5. Camenisch, T. D., Koller, B.H., Earp, H.S., Matsushima, G.K. A novel receptor tyrosine kinase, Mer, inhibits TNF-a and lipopolysaccharide-induced endotoxic shock. J. Immunol. 162: 3498-3503, 1999.

6. Lu, Q., Gore, M., Zhang, Q., Camenisch, T.D., Boast, S., Casagrande, F., Laio, C., Skinner, M., Klein, R., Matsushima, G.K., Earp, H.S., Goff, S.P. and Lemke. G. Tyro 3 family receptors are essential regulators of mammalian spermatogenesis. Nature 398: 723-728, 1999.

7. Camenisch, T. D., Spicer, A. P., Brehm-Gibson, T., Biesterfeldt, J., Augustine, M.L., Calabro, A. Jr., Kubalak, S., Klewer, S.E., and McDonald, J.A. Disruption of hyaluronan synthase-2 abrogates normal cardiac morphogenesis and hyaluronan-mediated transformation of epithelium to mesenchyme. J. Clin. Invest. 106:349-360, 2000 (cover).

8. Camenisch, T. D., and J. A. McDonald. Perspective: Hyaluronan-Is bigger better? Am. J. Respir. Cell. Mol. Biol. 23:1-3, 2000.

9. Camenisch, T.D., Biesterfeldt, J., Brehm-Gibson, T., Bradley, J., and McDonald, J.A. Regulation of cardiac cushion development by hyaluronan. Exp. Clin. Cardiol. 6:4-10, 2001.

10. Dor., Y., Camenisch, T. D., Itin, A., Fishman, G. I., McDonald, J. A., Carmeliet, P. and Keshet, E. A novel role for VEGF in endocardial cushion formation and its potential contribution to heart septation defects. Development 128:1531-1538, 2001.

11. Cohen, P.L., Caricchio, R., Abraham, V., Camenisch, T.D., Jennette, J.C., Roubey, R.A.S., Earp, H.S., Matsushima, G, and Reap, E.A. Delayed apoptotic cell clearance and Lupus-like autoimmunity in mice lacking the c-mer transmembrane tyrosine kinase. J Exp. Med. 196:135-140, 2002.

12. Camenisch, T.D., Molin, D.G.M., Person, A., Runyan, R., Gittenberger-de Groot, A.C., McDonald, J.A., and Klewer, S. E. Temporal and distinct TGFb ligand requirements during mouse and avian endocardial cushion morphogenesis. Dev. Biol. 248: 170-181, 2002.

13. Camenisch, T. D., Schroeder, J. A., Bradley, J., Klewer, S. E., and McDonald, J. A. Heart-valve mesenchyme formation is dependent on hyaluronan-augmented activation of ErbB2-ErbB3 receptors. Nat. Medicine 8: 850-855, 2002.

14. Dor, Y., Klewer, S.E., McDonald, J. A., Keshet, E., and Camenisch, T.D. VEGF modulates early heart valve formation. Anat. Rec. 271A: 202-208, 2003.

15. Schroeder, J.A., Adriance, M.C., Thompson, M.C., Camenisch, T.D., and Gendler, S. J. MUC1 alters β-catenin-dependent tumor formation and promotes cellular invasion. Oncogene 22: 1324-1332, 2003.

16. Enciso, J.M., Gratzinger, D., Camenisch, T.D., Canosa, S., Pinter, E., and Madri, J.A. Elevated glucose inhibits VEGF-A-mediated endocardial cushion formation: modulation by PECAM-1 and MMP-2. J. Cell Biol. 160: 605-615, 2003.

17. Schroeder, J.A., Jackson, L.F., Lee, D.C., and Camenisch, T.D. Form and Function of developing heart valves: coordination by extracellular matrix and growth factor signaling. J Mol Med. 81: 392-403, 2003.

18. McDonald, J.A., and Camenisch, T.D. Hyaluronan: Genetic insights into the complex biology of a simple polysaccharide. Glycoconjugate J. 19: 331-339, 2003.

19. Camenisch, T. D., Lopez, J.I., Stevens, M. V., Sands, B. J., McDonald, J. A. and Schroeder, J. A. CD44 attenuates metastatic invasion during breast cancer progression. Cancer Res 65: 6755-6763, 2005. Research Article

20. Klewer, S. E., Yatskievych, T., Pogreba, K., Antin, P.B., and Camenisch, T.D. Defining Has2 expression during cardiogenesis and its insusceptibility to BMP regulation. Gene Exp. 6: 462-470, 2006.

21. Stevens, M.V., Parker, P., Vaillancourt, R. R., and Camenisch, T.D. MEKK4 regulates developmental EMT in the embryonic heart. Dev. Dyn. 235: 2761 – 2770, 2006.

22. Rodgers, L., Lalani, S., Hardy, K., Xiang, X., Broka, D., Antin, P.B., and Camenisch, T.D. Depolymerized hyaluronan induces VEGF, a negative regulator of developmental epithelial to mesenchymal transformation. Circ. Res 99: 583-589, 2006.

23. Heather M. Seitz, Todd D. Camenisch, Greg Lemke, H. Shelton Earp, and Glenn K. Matsushima. Macrophages and dendritic cells use different Axl/Mertk/Tyro3 receptors in clearance of apoptotic cells. J Immunol. 178: 5635-5642. 2007.

24. Hays A.M., Lantz, R.C., Rodgers, L.S., Sollome, J.J., Andrew, A.S., Hamilton, J.W., Vaillancourt, R.R., and Camenisch, T.D. Arsenic downregulates vascular matrix. (submitted, Toxicol Letters ms07-00211, 2007).

25. Rodgers L.S. Lalani, S., Runyan, R.B., and Camenisch, T.D. Differential growth and multicellular villi direct proepicardial translocation to the developing mouse heart. Dev Dyn. 237: 145-152, 2008.

26. Stevens, M.V., Broka, D.B., Parker, P., Rogowitz, R., Vaillancourt, R.R., and Camenisch, T.D. MEKK3 mediates TGFb2-dependent epithelial to mesenchymal transformation during endocardial cushion morphogenesis. Circ. Res. 103: 1430-1440. 2008. PMC 2728220.

27. Camenisch, T.D., Brilliant, M. H., and Segal D.J. Critical parameters for genome editing using zinc finger nucleases. Mini Rev Med Chem. 8: 669-676, 2008.

28. Hays A.M., Lantz, R.C., Rodgers, L.S., Sollome, J.J., Vaillancourt, R.R., Andrew, A.S., Hamilton, J.W., and Camenisch, T.D. Arsenic downregulates vascular matrix. Tox. Pathol. 36: 805-817, 2008. DOI: 10.1177/0192623308323919

29. Craig, E. A., Stevens, M. V., Vaillancourt, R.R., and Camenisch, T.D. MAP3Ks central regulators of cell fate during development. Dev. Dynamics. 237: 3102-4114. 2008. PMC 18855897

30. Park E.J., Watanabe, Y., Smyth, G., Miyagawa-Tomita, S., Meyers, E., Klingensmith, J., Camenisch, T.D., Buckingham, M., and Moon, A.M. An FGF autocrine loop, initiated in second heart field mesoderm, regulates morphogenesis at the arterial pole of the heart. Development, 135: 3599-3610. 2008. PMC 2771204

31. Rodgers, L., Schnurr D., Broka D., and Camenisch T.D., An improved protocol for the isolation and cultivation of embryonic mouse myocytes. Cytotechnology, 59: 93-102. 2009. PMC 2698440

32. Craig, E.A., Camenisch, T.D., Size dependent regulation of Snail-2 by hyaluronan: its role in cellular invasion. J Glycobiology, 19, 890-898. 2009. PMC 2704900

33. Meadows, K.N. Iyer, S., Stevens, M.V., Wang, D., Shechter, S., Perruzzi, C.A., Camenisch, T.D., and Benjamin, L.E. Akt promotes endocardial-mesenchyme transition. J. Angio Res. 1:2 . 2009. PMC 2776235

34. Involvement of the MEKK1 signaling pathway in the regulation of epicardial cell behavior by hyaluronan. Craig, E. A., Parker, P., Austin, A.F., Barnett, J. V., and Camenisch, T.D. Cellular Signaling 22: 968-976. 2010. PMC 2846756

35. Craig, E. A., Austin, A.F., Vaillancourt, R.R., Barnett, J. V., and Camenisch, T.D. Exp Cell Research. TGFb2 mediated production of hyaluronan is important for the induction of epicardial cell differentiation and invasion. Exp. Cell. Res. 316: 3397-3405. 2010. PMID20633555

36. Lucinas, A., Broka, D., Konieczka, J., Klewer, S.E., Antin, P., Camenisch, T.D., and Runyan R. Arsenic exposure perturbs EMT and gene expression in a collagen gel assay. Tox. Sci. 116:273-285. 2010. PMID20308225

37. Soria, S.P., and Camenisch, T.D. ErbB signaling in cardiac development and disease. Seminars in Cell and Dev. Biol. 21:929-935. 2010. PMID20933094

38. Azhar, M., Brown, K., Gard, C., Chen, H., Rajan, S., Elliot, D., Stevens, M., Camenisch, T.D., Conway, S., and Doetschman, T. Transforming growth factor beta2 is required for valve remodeling during heart development. Dev. Dynamics. 240:2127-2141. 2011. PMID

39. Ellis, S.L., Grassinger, J., Jones, A., Borg, J., Camenisch, T. Haylock, D., Bertoncello, I, and Nilsson, SK. The relationship between bone, hemopoietic stem cells, and vasculature. Blood 118: 1516-1524. 2011. PMID

40. Sanchez, N.S., Hill, C.R., Love, J.D., Soslow, J.H., Craig, E.A., Austin, A.F., Brown, C.B., Czirok, A., Camenisch, T.D., and Barnett, J.V. The cytoplasmic domain of TGFbR3 through its interaction with the scaffolding protein, GIPC, directs epicardial cell behavior. Dev. Biol. 358: 331-343. 2011. PMID

41. Sanchez-Soria, P., Broka, D., Monks, S.L., and Camenisch, T.D. Chronic low-level arsenite exposure through drinking water increases blood pressure and promotes left ventricular hypertrophy. Tox. Pathol. 40: 504-512. 2012. DOI 10.1177/0192623311432297

Updated: Wednesday, 21 August 2013