Photo of Kevin M. Wright, Ph.D.

Kevin M. Wright Ph.D.

  •      (503) 494-6955
    • Assistant Professor Vollum Institute
    • Assistant Scientist Vollum Institute
    • Neuroscience Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Molecular and Medical Genetics Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine

After earning his B.S. in Neuroscience from Allegheny College in 2001, Kevin Wright received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2006. He did his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. In 2013, he was appointed as an assistant scientist at the Vollum Institute.

The Wright Lab uses genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches to identify the specific molecular pathways that allow genetically distinct subtypes of neurons to respond differentially to cues within the extracellular environment to form a functional neural circuit. The goal is to develop a better understanding of how axon guidance, laminar targeting, dendritic arborization and synaptogenesis occur throughout the developing nervous system, and how they are disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Areas of interest

  • neurodevelopment
  • axon guidance
  • neuronal migration
  • synaptogenesis
  • neural circuitry


  • B.S., Allegheny College 2001
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 2006


  • "Dystroglycan Organizes Axon Guidance Cue Localization and Axonal Pathfinding" Neuron December 6 2012
  • "Restricting apoptosis for postmitotic cell survival and its relevance to cancer" Cell Cycle August 1 2006
  • "Enhanced sensitivity to cytochrome c-induced apoptosis mediated by PHAPI in breast cancer cells" Journal of Cancer Research February 15 2006
  • "Chromatin modification of Apaf-1 restricts the apoptotic pathway in mature neurons" Journal of Cell Biology December 3 2007
  • "Decreased apoptosome activity with neuronal differentiation sets the threshold for strict IAP regulation of apoptosis" Journal of Cell Biology October 25 2004
  • "Differential Apaf-1 levels allow cytochrome c to induce apoptosis in brain tumors but not in normal neural tissues" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America December 26 2007
  • "Apoptosome dependent caspase-3 activation pathway is non-redundant and necessary for apoptosis in sympathetic neurons" Cell Death and Differentiation March 2007
  • "Sec24b selectively sorts Vangl2 to regulate planar cell polarity during neural tube closure" Nature Cell Biology January 2010
  • "The glucuronyltransferase B4GAT1 is required for initiation of LARGE-mediated α-dystroglycan functional glycosylation" eLife  2014
  • "Dystroglycan maintains inner limiting membrane integrity to coordinate retinal development" Journal of Neuroscience August 30 2017
  • "Gdnf Activates Midline Repulsion by Semaphorin3B via NCAM during Commissural Axon Guidance" Neuron September 20 2012
  • "Astrocytes follow ganglion cell axons to establish an angiogenic template during retinal development" GLIA October 1 2017
  • "Cas Adaptor Proteins Coordinate Sensory Axon Fasciculation" Scientific Reports December 1 2018
  • "Retinal ganglion cell axon sorting at the optic chiasm requires dystroglycan" Developmental Biology October 15 2018
  • "Dystroglycan is a scaffold for extracellular axon guidance decisions" eLife February 13 2019
  • "The expanding functional roles and signaling mechanisms of adhesion G protein–coupled receptors" Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences January 1 2019

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