Faculty Profile

Dr. Hannes E. Buelow, Ph.D.

Hannes E. Buelow, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Genetics

Professor, Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience

Areas of Research: Neural patterning with a focus on extracellular matrices using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans; Glycosaminoglycans in development as well as health and disease.

Professional Interests

Genetics of Nervous System Development


My lab uses the small nematode C. elegans with its simple and well characterized nervous system as a genetic model. We are trying to understand how growing axons and dendrites navigate the extracellular space to connect to their partners and be appropriately patterned.

The extracellular space is filled with a complex mixture of proteins and proteoglycans e.g. heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans which are a particular focus of the lab. We are asking how specific modification patterns of the polysaccharide HS determine the path of developing axons. For instance, we have shown that distinct modification patterns in HS serve specific and instructive functions during neural development leading us to formulate the ‘HS code’ hypothesis. We propose that defined combinations of modifications in the sugars of HS contain information and generate a molecular map that helps shape the nervous system. Our goal is to decipher the information contained in HS, determine the factors that create and modulate it and describe the genes that respond to it. We are also investigating a pathological dimension of HS by studying Kallmann Syndrome, a human genetic disease with specific neurological defects in which we have identified mutations in HS genes.

In another project we are studying the development of dendrites in polymodal multidendritic neurons of C. elegans. We are aiming to understand how the complex dendritic arbors that resemble menorah-like candelabras are patterned. In summary, we are using genetic approaches coupled with biochemical and advanced imaging approaches to understand the function of genes involved in development and disease of the nervous system.

Selected Publications

Cook S.J., Jarrell T.A., Britten C., Wang Y., Bloniarz A.E., Yakovlev M.A., Nguyen K.C.Q., Tang L.TZ., Bayer E.A., Duerr J.S., Bülow H.E., Hobert O., Hall D.H. & Emmons S.W. (2019) Whole-animal connectomes of both Caenorhabditis elegans sexes, Nature, 571(7763):63-71, published online on July 3, 2019 as https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1352-7.

Tang L.TH.*, Díaz-Balzac C.A.*, Rahman M., Ramirez-Suarez N.J., Salzberg Y., Lázaro-Peña M.I., and Bülow H.E. (2019) TIAM-1/GEF can shape somatosensory dendrites independently of its GEF activity by regulating F-actin localization. eLife8:e38949 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.38949.

Ramirez-Suarez N.J., Belalcazar H.M., Salazar C.J., Beyaz B., Raja B., Nguyen K.C.Q., Celestrin K., Fredens J., Færgeman N.J., Hall D.H., and Bülow H.E. (2019) Axon-dependent patterning and maintenance of somatosensory dendritic arbors, Dev. Cell48:229-244, pii: S1534-5807(18)31083-9. published online on January 17, 2019 as https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2018.12.015.

Celestrin K., Díaz-Balzac C.A., Tang L.TZ., Ackley B.D., and  Bülow H.E. (2018) Four specific Ig domains in UNC-52/Perlecan function with NID-1/Nidogen during dendrite morphogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegansDevelopment145(10):dev158881, published online on May 14, 2018 as https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.158881.

Townley, R.A., Bülow H.E. (2018) Deciphering functional glycosaminoglycan motifs in development. Curr. Op. in Struct. Biol50:144-514, published online on March 23, 2018 as https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbi.2018.03.011.

Saied-Santiago K., Bülow H.E. (2018) Diverse Roles for Glycosaminoglycans in Neural Patterning. Dev. Dyn., 247(1):54-74, published online on Jul 24, 2017 as https://doi.org/10.1002/dvdy.24555. 

Lázaro-Peña M.I., Díaz-Balzac C.A., Bülow H.E., and Emmons S.W. (2018) Heparan sulfate molecules mediate synapse formation and function of male mating neural circuits in C. elegans. GENETICS, 209(1):195-208, published online on March 20, 2018 as https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.118.300837.

Saied-Santiago K., Townley R.A., Attonito J., da Cunha D.S., Tecle E., and Bülow H.E. (2017) Coordination of heparan sulfate proteoglycans with Wnt signaling to control cellular migrations and positioning in Caenorhabditis elegans. GENETICS, 206(4):1951-1967published online on June 2, 2017 as https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.116.198739.

Salzberg Y., Coleman, A., Celestrin K., Biederer T., Henis-Korenblit* S., and Bülow* H.E. (2017) Reduced insulin/insulin-like growth factor receptor signaling mitigates defective dendrite morphogenesis in mutants of the ER stress sensor IRE-1PLoS Genetics13(1):e1006579. published online on January 24, 2017 as https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006579. * corresponding authors.

Díaz-Balzac C.A., Rahman M., Lázaro-Peña M.I., Martin Hernandez L.A., Salzberg Y., Aguirre-Chen C., Kaprielian Z., and Bülow H.E. (2016) Muscle- and skin-derived cues jointly orchestrate patterning of somatosensory dendrites. Current Biology, 26:1-9, published online on July 21 as http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.008.

Attreed, M., Saied-Santiago, K., and Bülow H.E. (2016) Conservation of anatomically restricted glycosaminoglycan structures in divergent nematode species.  Glycobiology26(8):862-870, published online on April 8, 2016 as https://doi.org/10.1093/glycob/cww037.

Díaz-Balzac C.A., Lázaro-Peña M.I., Ramos-Ortiz G.O., Bülow H.E. (2015) The Adhesion molecule KAL-1/anosmin-1 regulates Neurite Branching through a SAX-7/L1CAM–EGL-15/FGFR Receptor Complex. Cell Reports11:1–8, published online on May 21 as http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2015.04.057.

Desbois M., Cook S.J., Emmons, S.W., and Bülow H.E. (2015) Directional trans-synaptic labeling of specific synaptic connections in live animals. GENETICS, 200(3):697-705,  published online on April 27, 2015 as https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.115.177006.

Dong X, Shen K*, and Bülow H.E.* (2015) Intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of dendrite morphogenesis. Annu. Rev. Physiol.77:18.1–18.30, published onilne on October 24, 2014 as https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-physiol-021014-071746.  * corresponding authors

Salzberg Y., Ramirez-Suarez N.J., Bülow H.E. (2014) The Proprotein Convertase KPC-1/Furin Controls Brnahcing and Self-avoidance of Sensory Dendrites of Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genetics, 10(9):e1004657. published online on September 18, 2014 as https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004657.

Díaz-Balzac C.A., Lázaro-Peña M.I., Tecle E., Gomez N., and Bülow H.E. (2014) Complex cooperative functions of heparan sulfate proteoglycans shape nervous system development in C. elegans. G3 (Bethesda)2014 Aug 5. pii: g3.114.012591. Published online as  https://doi.org/10.1534/g3.114.012591.

Salzberg Y., Diaz-Balzac C.A., Ramirez-Suarez N.J., Attreed M., Tecle E., Desbois M., Kaprielian Z., and Bülow H.E. (2013) Skin-derived cues control arborization of sensory dendrites in Caenorhabditis elegans. Cell155(2): 308–320, published online on October 10 as https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004657.

Tecle E., Diaz-Balzac C.A., and Bülow H.E. (2013) Distinct 3-O-sulfated heparan sulfate modification patterns are required for kal-1 dependent neurite branching in a context-dependent manner in Caenorhabditis elegans. G3 (Bethesda)3(3):541-52. https://doi.org/10.1534/g3.112.005199.

Attreed M., Desbois M., van Kuppevelt T.H., and Bülow, H.E. (2012) Direct visualization of specifically modified extracellular glycans in living animals. Nat. Methods9(5):477-479, published online April 1, 2012 as https://doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.1945.

Tornberg J., Sykiotis G.P., Keefe K., Plummer L., Hoang X, Hall J.E., Quinton R., Seminara S.B., Hughes V., Van Vliet G., Van Uum S., Crowley, Jr W.F., Habuchi H., Kimata K., Pitteloud N.*, Bülow, H.E.* (2011) Heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase 1, a gene involved in extracellular sugar modifications, is mutated in patients with idiopathic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA108(28):11524-11529, published online June 23, 2011 as https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1102284108. * contributed equally.

Townley R.A., and Bülow, H.E. (2011) Genetic Analysis of the Heparan modification network in Caenorhabditis elegans. J. Biol. Chem.286:16824-16831, published March 24, 2011 as https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.227926.

Aguirre-Chen C., Bülow, H.E., and Kaprelian Z. (2011), C. elegans bicd-1, Homolog of the Drosophila Dynein Accessory Factor, Bicaudal D, Regulates the Branching of PVD Multidendritic Nociceptors. Development138:507-518. Published online as https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.060939.

Bhattacharya R., Townley, R.A., Berry K.L., and Bülow, H.E. (2009) The PAPS transporter pst-1/let-462 is required for heparan sulfation and is essential for viability and neural development. J Cell Science122:4492-4504. Published online on November 17, 2009 as https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.050732.

Material in this section is provided by individual faculty members who are solely responsible for its accuracy and content.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Ullmann Building, Room 709
Bronx, NY 10461

Tel: 718.430.3621
Fax: 718.430.8778

Research Information