Barbara Stebbins-Boaz


  • Ph.D., Brown University, 1989

Teaching Philosophy

Each student brings to the classroom a unique experience and understanding of any given topic. My role as a teacher is to challenge each to articulate and reflect upon their mental models. When that occurs, the student is ready and eager to critically examine new ideas and concepts, all the while refining and remodeling their own mental images. In addition, as a biologist, I have the special role of demonstrating how one actively tests any given model through experimentation. I consider my role as a researcher and research mentor as critical in the intellectual development of the student. When I see a student asking open ended questions and discussing possible ways to test their ideas in the lab or field, I know I have helped in the formation of an independent thinker who is capable of acting on their ideas. Whether or not a student ultimately continues with research or medicine is not as important to me as knowing that he or she has the desire to continue learning and the confidence and skills to constructively solve problems.

Research Interests

The molecular, biochemical, and cellular events that surround early development. Oocytes, eggs and embryos from the amphibian, Xenopus, are excellent model systems to ask how development is regulated by gene expression and signal transduction pathways. Currently, we have been investigating how oocytes respond to the environmental contaminant, 2,4-D, an herbicide and plant hormone. Data from western analysis and confocal microscopy suggest that a MAPK-dependent pathway is activated by 2,4-D; the cytoskeleton undergoes dramatic rearrangement that leads to morphological changes in the oocyte; and, importantly, a block in meiotic maturation (egg formation) occurs. Our studies continue to investigate the details of these responses.

Advised Student Research

  • Micro-injection of in vitro-expressed GST-PKI, an Inducer of Xenopus Oocyte Maturation, Fails to Protect Oocytes from the Inhibitory Effects of the Herbicide, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacettic Acid. By Alexis LaChapelle. 2005.
  • The Herbicide, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, Inhibits the Accumulation of the Onco-protein, c-Mos kinase, in Xenopus laevis Oocytes by Blocking Translation. By Jason Oost. 2005.
  • The Herbicide, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, Partially Activates and Degrades p90 Rsk and Does Not Activate Cdc25 in Xenopus laevis Frog Oocytes. By Michael Ruygrock. 2005.


* Indicates student co-author.

  • LaChapelle, A.M., Ruygrok M.L., *Toomer M., *Oost, J.J., *Monnie, M.L., *Swenson, J.A. *Compton, A.A., Stebbins-Boaz, B. , B. 2007. The hormonal herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, prevents meiotic initiation in Xenopus oocytes by blocking polyadenylation and translation of Mos RNA. Reprod. Toxicol. 23:20-31. [Download PDF]
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., *Fortner, K., *Frazier, J., Piluso, S., *Pullen, S., *Rasar, M., *Reid, W., *Sinclair, K., *Winger, E. 2004. Oocyte maturation in Xenopus laevis is blocked by the hormonal herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 67:233-242. [Download PDF]
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., *Toomer, M. 2004. Xenopus oocyte maturation is irreversibly blocked and a novel MAPK signaling pathway stimulated by the herbicide, 2,4-D. Northwest Developmental Biology Conference. Friday Harbor Laboratory, Friday Harbor, WA.
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., *Fortner, K., *Frazier, J., *Pullen, S., *Rasar, M., *Sinclair, K. 2003. Oocyte maturation in Xenopus laevis is blocked by the hormonal herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Society for Developmental Biology Annual Meeting. Boston.
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., *Sinclair, K. K. and *Kelly, T. T. 2001. Stress-induced MAPK phosphorylation in Xenopus oocytes. Mol. Biol. Cell. 12:S.
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., *Pullen, S. J. and *Reid, W. J. 2000. The effects of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid on oocyte maturation in Xenopus. Mol. Biol. Cell 11:S.
  • *Rasar, M. E., *Winger, E. E. and Stebbins-Boaz, B. 2000. Early development of Xenopus is perturbed by natural and synthetic plant growth hormones, IAA and 2,4-D. Northwest Developmental Biology Conference. Friday Harbor, Washington. March
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., *Rasar, M. A. and *Winger, E. A. 1999. Xenopus oocyte maturation is induced by the plant auxins, indole-3-acetic acid and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Mol. Biol. Cell 10:S.
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., Cao, Q.P., de Moore, C., Mendez, R. and Richter, J. D. 1999. Maskin is a CPEB associated factor that regulates maternal mRNA by transiently interacting with eIF-4E. Mol. Cell 4: 1017-1027.
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B. and Richter, J.D. 1997. Translational control during early development, Crit. Rev. Euk. Gene Expr. 7: 73-94.
  • Stebbins-Boaz, B., Hake, L.E., and Richter, J.D. 1996. CPEB controls the cytoplasmic polyadenylation of cyclin, cdk2 and c-mos mRNAs and is necessary for oocyte maturation in Xenopus. EMBO J. 15: 2582-2592.