Robert A. Schulz Notre Dame Professor

Stem Cells and Development
Robert A. Schulz

Research Interests:

My research involves using the laboratory fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to generate and study genetic models of human disease, especially as they relate to abnormalities in heart and blood cell development. Drosophila is a superb model organism for these investigations because of its short generation time, the numerous experimental approaches available, the known DNA sequence of its genome, and the wealth of genetic and information resources on hand and emerging. Studying problems in Drosophila development has clear ramifications for our understanding of human development and disease due to the substantial conservation of genes between the two species. That is, greater than 60% of all Drosophila genes have homologues in humans, including many genes known to be causal of or associated with specific diseases. Research projects ongoing in my lab include identification and analysis of:

  • genes required for heart formation, relevant to the study of congenital heart defects in humans
  • genes controlling blood cell development, with relevance to our understanding of human leukemias
  • genes regulating hematopoietic stem cell maintenance, relevant to our understanding of the functional nature of cancer stem cells potentially resident in diseased bone marrow. Genetic, developmental, and cell biological approaches are used in these fundamental analyses.



  • Notre Dame Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2007-Present
  • Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center 1985-2007
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University 1981-1985
  • Ph.D. Biochemistry, Georgetown University 1981
  • B.A. Chemistry, University of North Carolina 1976


Recent Papers:

  • Tokusumi T, Tokusumi Y, Hopkins, DW, and Schulz RA (2015). Bag of Marbles controls the size and organization of the Drosophila hematopoietic niche through interactions with the insulin-like growth factor pathway and Retinoblastoma-family protein. Development 142, 2261-2267.
  • Lam V., Tokusumi T, Tokusumi Y, and Schulz RA (2014). bantam miRNA is important for Drosophila blood cell homeostasis and a regulator of proliferation in the hematopoietic progenitor niche. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 453, 467-472.
  • Kroeger PT, Shoue DA, Mezzacappa FM, Gerlach GF, Wingert RA, and Schulz RA (2013). Knockdown of SCFSkp2 function causes Double-Parked accumulation in the nucleus and DNA re-replication in Drosophila plasmatocytes. PLoS One 8, e79019.
  • Xu P, Johnson TL, Stoller-Conrad JR, and Schulz RA (2012). Spire, an actin nucleation factor, regulates cell division during Drosophila heart development. PLoS One 7, e30565.
  • Kroeger PT, Tokusumi T, and Schulz RA (2012). Transcriptional regulation of eater gene expression in Drosophila blood cells. Genesis 50, 41-49.
  • Tokusumi T, Tokusumi Y, Hopkins DW, Shoue DA, Corona L, and Schulz RA (2011). Germ line differentiation factor Bag of Marbles is a regulator of hematopoietic progenitor maintenance during Drosophila hematopoiesis. Development 138, 3879-3884.
  • Gajewski K and Schulz RA (2010). CF2 represses actin 88F gene expression and maintains filament balance during indirect flight muscle development in Drosophila. PLoS One 5, e10713.
  • Lam VK, Tokusumi T, Cerabona D, and Schulz RA (2010). Specific cell ablation in Drosophila using the toxic viral protein M2(H37A). Fly 4, 338-343.
  • Tokusumi Y, Tokusumi T, Stoller-Conrad J, and Schulz RA (2010). Serpent, Suppressor of Hairless, and U-shaped are crucial regulators of hedgehog niche expression and prohemocyte maintenance during Drosophila larval hematopoiesis. Development 137, 3561-3568.
  • Tokusumi T, Shoue D, Tokusumi Y, Stoller J, and Schulz RA (2009). New hemocyte-specific enhancer-reporter transgenes for the analysis of hematopoiesis in Drosophila. Genesis 47, 771-774.