Steven C. McLoon, PhD

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Steven C. McLoon

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-624-9182

Office Address:
4-158 Jackson Hall

Lab Address:
4-165 Jackson Hall


Research Summary/Interests

Developmental neurobiology

The primary aim of research in the McLoon laboratory is to understand the cellular mechanisms responsible for development of the vertebrate nervous system with an emphasis on the visual system. The projects currently underway in the laboratory have three main focuses. First is to identify the mechanisms responsible for determination of cell fate in the developing retina. The aim of current work is to understand how the competence of progenitor cells changes during development so as to allow the initial onset of cell differentiation and later the termination of production of specific cell types (e.g. Silva et al., 2002 & 2003). The second area of work is to understand how the pattern of axonal connections develops between the retina in the eye and the central visual centers in the brain. This process has two steps. In the first step, retinal ganglion cells form a rough pattern of connections, which appears to be guided by certain molecules that encode position in the retina and brain. The second step involves refinement of the pattern of connections, such that aberrant connections are corrected or the cells giving rise to these connections are eliminated. The laboratory is working to identify the mechanisms involved in both steps of this process (e.g. Wu et al., 2001 and Jurney et al., 2002). The third area of work is new to the laboratory. Stem cells are being used in an effort to replace certain cell types in the retina as a potential clinical therapy for the most common types of blindness. Stem cells are being coaxed to recapitulate aspects of normal retinal development by treatment of the cells with certain factors and by introducing certain genes to the cells.


For more publications, see PubMed.

  • Aaker JD, Patineau AL, Yang H-, Ewart DT, Nakagawa Y, McLoon SC, et al. Interaction of MTG family proteins with NEUROG2 and ASCL1 in the developing nervous system.Neurosci Lett. 2010;474(1):46-51.
  • Yang H-, Silva AO, Koyano-Nakagawa N, McLoon SC. Progenitor cell maturation in the developing vertebrate retina. Dev Dyn. 2009;238(11):2823-36.
  • Aaker JD, Patineau AL, Yang H-, Ewart DT, Gong W, Li T, et al. Feedback regulation of NEUROG2 activity by MTGR1 is required for progression of neurogenesis. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2009;42(4):267-77.
  • Silva AO, Ercole CE, McLoon SC. Regulation of ganglion cell production by Notch signaling during retinal development. J Neurobiol. 2003;54(3):511-24.
  • Gallo G, Ernst AF, McLoon SC, Letourneau PC. Transient PKA activity is required for initiation but not maintenance of BDNF-mediated protection from nitric oxide-induced growth-cone collapse. J Neurosci. 2002;22(12):5016-23.
  • Jurney WM, Gallo G, Letourneau PC, McLoon SC. Rac1-mediated endocytosis during ephrin-A2- and semaphorin 3A-induced growth cone collapse. J Neurosci. 2002;22(14):6019-28.
  • Silva AO, Ercole CE, McLoon SC. Plane of cell cleavage and numb distribution during cell division relative to cell differentiation in the developing retina. J Neurosci. 2002;22(17):7518-25.
  • Wu HH, Selski DJ, El-Fakahany EE, McLoon SC. The role of nitric oxide in development of topographic precision in the retinotectal projection of chick. J Neurosci. 2001;21(12):4318-25.
  • Ernst AF, Gallo G, Letourneau PC, McLoon SC. Stabilization of growing retinal axons by the combined signaling of nitric oxide and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. J Neurosci. 2000;20(4):1458-69.
  • Ernst AF, Wu HH, El-Fakahany EE, McLoon SC. NMDA receptor-mediated refinement of a transient retinotectal projection during development requires nitric oxide. J Neurosci. 1999;19(1):229-35.
  • Ernst AF, Jurney WM, McLoon SC. Mechanisms involved in development of retinotectal connections: roles of Eph receptor tyrosine kinases, NMDA receptors and nitric oxide.Prog Brain Res. 1998;118:115-31.
  • Waid DK, McLoon SC. Ganglion cells influence the fate of dividing retinal cells in culture.Development. 1998;125(6):1059-66.
  • Wu HH, Waid DK, McLoon SC. Nitric oxide and the developmental remodeling of retinal connections in the brain. Prog Brain Res. 1996;108:273-86.
  • McAdams BD, McLoon SC. Expression of chondroitin sulfate and keratan sulfate proteoglycans in the path of growing retinal axons in the developing chick. J Comp Neurol. 1995;352(4):594-606.
  • Waid DK, McLoon SC. Immediate differentiation of ganglion cells following mitosis in the developing retina. Neuron. 1995;14(1):117-24.
  • Williams CV, Nordquist D, McLoon SC. Correlation of nitric oxide synthase expression with changing patterns of axonal projections in the developing visual system. J Neurosci. 1994;14(3 Pt 2):1746-55.
  • Wu HH, Wilcox GL, McLoon SC. Implantation of AtT-20 or genetically modified AtT-20/hENK cells in mouse spinal cord induced antinociception and opioid tolerance. J Neurosci. 1994;14(8):4806-14.
  • Wu HH, Williams CV, McLoon SC. Involvement of nitric oxide in the elimination of a transient retinotectal projection in development. Science. 1994;265(5178):1593-6.
  • Wu HH, McLoon SC, Wilcox GL. Antinociception following implantation of AtT-20 and genetically modified AtT-20/hENK cells in rat spinal cord. J Neural Transplant Plast. 1993;4(1):15-26.
  • Williams CV, Stechmann CL, McLoon SC. Subtractive immunization techniques for the production of monoclonal antibodies to rare antigens. BioTechniques. 1992;12(6):842-7.
  • Nordquist D, McLoon SC. Morphological patterns in the developing vertebrate retina. Anat Embryol. 1991;184(5):433-40.
  • Williams CV, McLoon SC. Elimination of the transient ipsilateral retinotectal projection is not solely achieved by cell death in the developing chick. J Neurosci. 1991;11(2):445-53.
  • McLoon SC. A monoclonal antibody that distinguishes between temporal and nasal retinal axons. J Neurosci. 1991;11(5):1470-7.
  • McLoon SC, Barnes RB. Early differentiation of retinal ganglion cells: an axonal protein expressed by premigratory and migrating retinal ganglion cells. J Neurosci. 1989;9(4):1424-32.
  • Li XR, Lin WN, Yu QX, Qin GQ, Zhang FC, Jiang JM, et al. [Effects of monoclonal antibodies to junctional protein on development of lens in chicken embryo]. Shi Yan Sheng Wu Xue Bao. 1988;21(3):393-9.
  • McLoon SC, McLoon LK. Multiple trophic influences which act on developing retinal ganglion cells: studies of retinal transplants. Prog Brain Res. 1988;78:377-81.
  • McLoon LK, McLoon SC. Schwann cell-conditioned medium promotes neurite outgrowth from explants of fetal rat retina and tectum in vitro. Brain Res. 1988;467(1):61-8.
  • McLoon SC, McLoon LK, Palm SL, Furcht LT. Transient expression of laminin in the optic nerve of the developing rat. J Neurosci. 1988;8(6):1981-90.
  • McLoon SC. Response of astrocytes in the visual system to Wallerian degeneration: an immunohistochemical analysis of laminin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Exp Neurol. 1986;91(3):613-21.
  • •Lemmon V, McLoon SC. The appearance of an L1-like molecule in the chick primary visual pathway. J Neurosci. 1986;6(10):2987-94.
  • Rogers SL, Edson KJ, Letourneau PC, McLoon SC. Distribution of laminin in the developing peripheral nervous system of the chick. Dev Biol. 1986;113(2):429-35.
  • Perry VH, Lund RD, McLoon SC. Ganglion cells in retinae transplanted to newborn rats. J Comp Neurol. 1985;231(3):353-63.
  • McLoon SC. Evidence for shifting connections during development of the chick retinotectal projection. J Neurosci. 1985;5(10):2570-80.
  • McLoon SC, Lund RD. Loss of ganglion cells in fetal retina transplanted to rat cortex. Brain Res. 1984;314(1):131-5.
  • McLoon SC, Lund RD. Development of fetal retina, tectum, and cortex transplanted to the superior colliculus of adult rats. J Comp Neurol. 1983;217(4):376-89.
  • McLoon LK, Lund RD, McLoon SC. Transplantation of reaggregates of embryonic neural retinae to neonatal rat brain: differentiation and formation of connections. J Comp Neurol. 1982;205(2):179-89.
  • McLoon SC. Alterations in precision of the crossed retinotectal projection during chick development. Science. 1982;215(4538):1418-20.
  • McLoon SC, Lund RD. Transient retinofugal pathways in the developing chick. Exp Brain Res. 1982;45(1-2):277-84.
  • McLoon LK, McLoon SC, Lund RD. Cultured embryonic retinae transplanted to rat brain: differentiation and formation of projections to host superior colliculus. Brain Res. 1981;226(1-2):15-31.
  • McLoon SC, Lund RD. Specific projections of retina transplanted to rat brain. Exp Brain Res. 1980;40(3):273-82.
  • McLoon SC, Lund RD. Identification of cells in retinal transplants which project to host visual centers: a horseradish peroxidase study in rats. Brain Res. 1980;197(2):491-5.
  • Hughes WF, McLoon SC. Ganglion cell death during normal retinal development in the chick: comparisons with cell death induced by early target field destruction. Exp Neurol. 1979;66(3):587-601.
  • McLoon SC, Hughes WF. Ganglion cell death during retinal development in chick eyes explanted to the chorioallantoic membrane. Brain Res. 1978;150(2):398-402.
  • McLoon SC, Buerger AA. Learning and retention of a shock avoidance task by rat using deafferented hind limb. Physiol Behav. 1974;12(1):39-43.



Nsc 8211: Development of Neurobiology (Spring semester); NSCI 1100: Human Neuroanatomy (Fall semester); NSCI 4100: Development of the Nervous System (Fall semester).