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Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty and Staff Directory

Shannon Davis

Title: Associate Professor
Research Concentration - Stem Cells & Developmental Biology
Department: Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-8349 (office), 803-777-9940 (lab)
Office: CLS 503
Shannon Davis


The pituitary gland plays a critical role in regulating a wide range of physiological processes, including reproduction, growth, metabolism, and stress response. These processes are regulated through the secretion of hormones that affect specific target organs such as the liver, thyroid, and gonads. As a consequence, lesions in genes involved in pituitary development that result in multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies (MPHD) can have profound effects on multiple physiological processes. Many genes that cause MPHD are transcription factors necessary for the embryonic development of the pituitary gland. For instance, loss of PROP1, which is a homeodomain containing transcription factor, can result in an absence of growth hormone (GH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), prolactin (PRL), luteinizing hormone (LH), and progressive loss of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) in humans. Mice containing null mutations in Prop1 also display a similar phenotype.  Understanding how the pituitary gland forms and how each hormone producing cell type is specified provides critical insight into the central role the pituitary gland plays in vertebrate physiology.

Research in my lab focuses on determining the molecular mechanisms of pituitary gland organogenesis. One current project focuses on the morphogenesis of the pituitary gland, especially how signaling factors such as BMP, FGF, WNT, and SHH contribute to the proper size, shape, and location of the pituitary gland.  A second project seeks to understand how the five hormone secreting cell types of the pituitary anterior lobe are specified and what signaling factors are necessary for their formation.


Shannon Davis - Bibliography

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.