Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Science

First Advisor

Daniel M Suter

Committee Member 1

Yuk Fai Leung

Committee Member 2

Chris J Staiger

Committee Member 3

Joseph P Ogas


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidases (NOX) are a family of enzymes that produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). The first NOX enzyme was discovered in leukocytes and associated with host defense in the immune system. Subsequent findings of ROS production in non-immune cells led to the identification of six additional NOX isoforms, and opened new avenues for research into NOX-mediated cellular functions. Since then, NOX-derived ROS have been found to be involved in a tremendous number of cell signaling pathways. Of particular interest is the well-established function of NOX-derived ROS in signaling pathways that drive cytoskeletal rearrangements and motility in several cell types. Our lab is interested in the highly motile neuronal growth cone that guides axonal growth during neurodevelopment and regeneration. Others have reported that inhibition of NOX enzymes during development causes a decrease in the size of some brain areas, and NOX deficiencies in humans are correlated with diminished cognitive function. Despite the fact that NOX activity is necessary for some cell motility in non-neuronal cells and a loss of NOX function during development has impacts on brain structure, it is still unclear what role NOX plays in axonal growth and guidance or the establishment of connections in the central nervous system.