Shirley Wright

Contact Information

Shirley Wright


  • Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Shirley Wright is an associate professor of biology and teaches courses for the Premedical Programs as well.


  • Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1981
  • M.S., 1983
  • B.S., Loyola University, Chicago


Research Interests

Research is directed towards understanding cell motility and the nuclear and cytoskeletal aspects of fertilization. Pronuclear development is a pivotal period during fertilization, because the successful genetic reactivation of the dormant sperm nucleus and maternal chromatin by egg cytoplasm is essential for bipartental embryonic development.

One project of the lab is to use an in vitro nuclear system to elucidate the factors regulating male pronuclear development at the cellular and molecular levels. Another area of research analyzes the role of the cytoskeleton in the fertilization process. These projects utilize fluorescence microscopy, video microscopy, and biochemical techniques. The object of these investigations is to gain an understanding of the nucleocytoplasmic interactions in cells.

Selected Publications

Wright, S.J. (1999). "Sperm nuclear activation during fertilization." Curr. Top. Dev. Biol. 46:133-178.

Wright, S.J. (1999). "Human embryonic stem-cell research: Science and ethics." American Scientist 87:352-361.

Raskin, D. M., D. J. Wright, and S. J. Wright. (1997). "Sea urchin sperm nuclear enlargement and shape transformations are differentially regulated in vitro." J. Exp. Zool. 277: 401-416.

Wright, S. J., and G. Schatten. (1995). "Protein tyrosine phosphorylation during sea urchin fertilization: Microtubule dynamics require tyrosine kinase activity." Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. 30: 122-135.

Wright, S. J., V. E. Centonze, S. A. Stricker, P. DeVries, S.W. Paddock, and G. Schatten. (1993). "An introduction to confocal microscopy and three-dimensional reconstruction." Methods in Cell Biol. 38: 1-45.

Longo, F. J., S. Cook, L. Mathews, and S. J. Wright. (1991). "Nascent protein requirement for completion of meiotic maturation and pronuclear development: Examination of fertilized and A-23187-activated surf clam (Spisula solidissima) eggs." Dev. Biol. 148: 75-86. Featured on journal cover.

Wright, S. J., and G. Schatten. (1991). "Confocal fluorescence microscopy and three-dimensional reconstruction." J. Electron Microsc. Tech. 18: 2-10.

Wright, S. J., and G. Schatten. (1990). "Teniposide, a topoisomerase II inhibitor, prevents chromosome condensation and separation but not decondensation in fertilized surf clam (Spisula solidissima) oocytes." Dev. Biol. 142: 224-232.

Wright, S. J., H. Schatten, C. Simerly, and G. Schatten. (1990). "Three-dimensional fluorescence imaging with the tandem-scanning confocal microscope." In: Optical Microscopy for Biology. eds., B. Herman, K. Jacobson, A. R. Liss, New York, NY. pp. 29-43.

Wright, S. J., C. Simerly, H. Schatten, and G. Schatten. (1990). "Nuclear-cytoskeletal interactions during mouse fertilization and development." In: Fertilization in Mammals. eds., B. Bavister, J. Cummins, and E. R. S. Roldan, Plenum Publishing Corp., New York, NY. pp. 269-283.

Wright, S. J., J. S. Walker, H. Schatten, C. Simerly, J. J. McCarthy, and G. Schatten. (1989). "Confocal fluorescence microscopy with the tandem scanning light microscope." J. Cell Sci. 94: 617-624. Featured on journal cover.

Wright, S. J., and F. J. Longo. (1988). "Sperm nuclear enlargement in fertilized hamster eggs is related to meiotic maturation of the maternal chromatin." J. Exp. Zool. 247: 155-165.