Kristen Kroll, PhD

Professor of Developmental Biology

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Research interests

Developmental, Regenerative, and Stem Cell Biology Program, Molecular Cell Biology Program

Our research focuses on defining gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that control neural cell specification, neurogenesis, and the generation of specific neuronal cell types. We are particularly interested in understanding how epigenetic regulation modulates these networks and how their dysregulation contributes to neurodevelopmental disorders and birth defects, including epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, and neural tube defects. This work uses directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells), mouse models, and a wide range of cellular, molecular, and genomic approaches, to define roles for transcriptional and epigenetic regulation in shaping developmental transitions.

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1988 B.A. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

1994 Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, California

Academic Positions

1988-94 Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology University of California at Berkeley

1994-2000 Postdoctoral Fellow with Marc W. Kirschner, Professor and Chair Dept. of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

1998 Independent consultant, Genetics Institute, Cambridge, MA

2000- Assistant Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, Dept. of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology

2007-Associate Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, Dept. of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology


2007 Hope Award, American Cancer Society, Wash. U. School of Medicine

2006 American Cancer Society Research Scholar, Wash. U. School of Medicine

2000-02 Basil O’Connor Research Award, March of Dimes, Wash. U. School of Medicine

2000-02 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Faculty Development-Basic Research Award, Wash. U. School of Medicine

1995-98 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cancer Research Fund of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation, Harvard Medical School

1992 Teaching Effectiveness Award, UC Berkeley

1992 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, UC Berkeley 1988 Phi Beta Kappa, Northwestern University

1987 Phi Eta Sigma honorary society member, Northwestern University

1987 National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Northwestern University

1986-87 Alice G. Hough Scholarship, Northwestern University

Selected publications

Anderson NC, Chen PF, Meganathan K, Afshar Saber W, Bhattacharyya A, Kroll K, and Sabin M on behalf of the Cross-IDDRC Human Stem Cell Working Group. Balancing Serendipity and Reproducibility: Pluripotent stem cells as experimental systems for intellectual and developmental disorders.Stem Cell Reports.

Emily M. A. Lewisa, Komal Kaushika, Luke A. Sandovala, Irene Antonya, Sabine Dietmanna, Kristen L. Krolla* Epigenetic regulation during human cortical development: seq-ing answers from the brain to the organoid.

“New models to understand the intricacies of neurodevelopmental disorders”. Scientia.

Meganathan K., Prakasam R., Gontarz P., Zhang B., Baldridge D., Bonni A., Urano F., Huettner J.E., Constantino J.N., Kroll K.L. Alterations in neuronal physiology, development and function associated with a common duplication of chromosome 15 involving CHRNA7. bioRxiv, forthcoming. doi:;

Lewis, EMA, Sankar, S, Tong, C, Patterson, ES, Waller, LE, Gontarz, P, Zhang, B, Ornitz, DM, Kroll, KL. Geminin is required for Hox gene regulation to pattern the developing limb. Developmental Biology (2020),

Lewis, E.M.A.*, Meganathan, K.*, Baldridge, D., Gontarz, P., Zhang, B., Bonni, A., Constantino, J., and Kroll, K.L. Cellular and molecular characterization of multiplex autism in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons. Molecular Autism, 2019, 10(51) doi:10.1186/s13229-019-0306-0. PMC6936127.

*Authors contributed equally to this work.

Meganathan, K., Prakasam, R., and Kroll, K.L. A translational rheostat integrates euchromatin regulation and growth of pluripotent embryonic cells. Stem Cell Investigation; 2019, 6(11). http://PMC6556695.

Lewis, E.M.A., and Kroll, K.L. Development and disease in a dish: the epigenetics of neurodevelopmental disorders. Epigenomics, 2018; 10(2):219-231. PMC5810842.

Meganathan, K, Lewis, E.M.A., Gontarz, P., Liu, S., Stanley, E.G., Elefanty, A.G., Huettner, J.E., Zhang, B., and Kroll, K.L. Regulatory networks specifying cortical interneurons from human embryonic stem cells reveal roles for CHD2 in interneuron development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 2017; 114(52):E11180–E11189. PMC5748186.

Sankar, S., Patterson, E., Lewis, E.M.A., Waller, L.E., Tong, C., Dearborn, J., Wozniak, D., Rubin, J.B., and Kroll, K.L.. Geminin deficiency enhances survival in a murine medulloblastoma model by inducing apoptosis of preneoplastic granule neuron precursors. Genes & Cancer, 2017; 8(9-10):725-744. PMC5724806.

See a complete list of Dr. Kroll’s publications »