Deneen M. Wellik, PhD

U-M Genetic Medicine Division, Dr. Deneen Wellik
Deneen M. Wellik, PhD

Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Professor, Department of Cell & Developmental Biology
Director, Center for Organogenesis

Biomedical Science Research Building
109 Zina Pitcher Place, Room 2053
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone: 734-936-8902


  • BA (Biology), Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 1986
  • PhD (Biochemistry, Dr. Hector F. DeLuca), University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 1996
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Dr. Mario Capecchi), University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2003

Research Interests

Hox genes are a highly conserved set of genes that are key regulators of animal development, repair, and regeneration. Numerous organogenesis defects are observed with loss-of-function mutations in this gene family. In order to elucidate the basic mechanisms of Hox function during mammalian organogenesis and development, we employ mouse developmental genetics, molecular biology, and biochemical approaches. The laboratory focuses on several model organ systems including the musculoskeletal system, the developing limb, and lung to dissect how Hox genes function to pattern tissue types during organogenesis and integrate these cell types to form a functional organ. These studies will contribute to our long-term goal of understanding the general downstream mechanisms controlled by Hox genes to direct differentiation and development processes in mammals and to elucidate how this information can be used to improve potential regenerative therapies for affected organ systems.


Deneen M. Wellik, PhD, is a Professor in Genetic Medicine and is jointly appointed in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. She is the Director for the Center for Organogenesis at the University of Michigan and serves as the Director of the NIH T32 Training Program in Organogenesis.

Selected Publications

  • Rux, D.R., Swinehart, I.T., Schlientz, A.J., Mandair, G.S., Garthus, K.N., Goldstein, S.A., Kozloff, K.M., Wellik, D.M.,Hox11 Function is Required for Region-Specific Fracture Repair”, Journal of Bone and Mineral Biology 32(8): 1750-1760 (2017). PMID: 28470721    
  • Rux, D.R., Song, J.Y., Swinehart, I.T., Pineault, K.M., Schlientz, A.J., Trulik, K.G., Goldstein, S.A., Kozloff, K.M., Lucas, D., Wellik, D.M., “Regionally Restricted Hox Function in Adult Bone Marrow Multipotent Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells,” Developmental Cell 39(6): 653-666 (2016). PMID: 27939685    
  • Hrycaj, S.M., Dye, B.R., Baker, N.C., Larsen, B.M., Burke, A.C., Spence, J.R., Wellik, D.M., “Hox5 Genes regulate the Wnt2/2b-Bmp4 signaling axis during lung development”, Cell Reports 12(6): 903-912 (2015). PMID: 26235626  
  • Xu, B., Hyrcaj, S.M., McIntyre, D.M., Takeuchi, J.K., Jeannotte, L., Gaber, Z.B., Novitch, B.G., Wellik, D.M., “Hox5 interacts with Plzf to restrict Shh expression in the developing forelimb”, PNAS 110: 19438-43 (2013). PMID: 24218595
  • Swinehart, I.T., Schlientz, A.J., Quintanilla, C.A., Mortlock, D.P., Wellik, D.M.,  “Hox11 function is required for regional patterning and integration of muscle, tendon and bone”, Development 140: 4574-82 (2013). PMID: 24154528

View all Dr. Wellik's publications in PubMed.