Richard Tucker, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor
3414 Tupper Hall
Davis Campus

Research Interests

Dr. Tucker’s laboratory studies cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions, especially how they relate to cell motility and differentiation. He also studies the evolution of extracellular matrix and cell-cell adhesion molecules. Model systems used include the development of the avian visual system, tumor metastasis, stem cell niches and growth and regeneration in the marine invertebrate Nematostella. Most of his work focuses on the roles of tenascins, thrombospondins and teneurins. Tenascins and thrombospondins are extracellular matrix glycoproteins that can influence cell motility, proliferation and differentiation in the embryo. They often reappear in tumors and at sites of trauma. Teneurins are transmembrane glycoproteins expressed by interconnected populations of neurons. Recent evidence suggests that teneurins evolved via horizontal gene transfer between a choanoflagellate and prokaryotic prey.

Graduate Group Affiliations

2024  Tucker, R.P. and J.C. Adams. "Molecular evolution of the thrombospondin superfamily". Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 155:12-21.

2022  Yilmaz, A., T. Loustau, N. Salome, S.P. Suredran, C. Li, R.P. Tucker, V. Izzi, R. Lamba, M. Koch and G. Orend. "Advances on the roles of tenascin-C in cancer". Journal of Cell Science 135, jcs260244.

2022  Tucker, R.P. and M. Degen. "Revisiting the tenascins: Exploitable as cancer targets?" Frontiers in Oncology 12:908247.

2021  Orend, G., and R.P. Tucker. "Did tenascin-C co-evolve with the general immune system of vertebrates?" Frontiers in Immunology 12:663902.

2021  Hendaoui, I., A. Lahmar, L. Campo, S. Mebarki, S. Bichet, D. Hess, M. Degen, N. Kchir, L. Charrada-Ben Farhat, R. Hefaiedh, C. Ruiz, L.M. Terracciano, R.P. Tucker, L. Hendaoui and R. Chiquet-Ehrismann. "Tenascin-W is a novel stromal marker in biliary tract cancers". Frontiers in Immunology 11:630139.

2021  Tucker, R.P. and H. Anderson. "Dissection experience and performance on a human gross anatomy written examination: Lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic". Anatomical Sciences Education 14:169-170.

2021  Degen, M., A. Scherberich and R.P. Tucker. "Tenascin-W: Discovery, evolution and future prospects". Frontiers in Immunology 11:623305.

2021  Tucker, R.P. and Q. Gong. "Molecular biology of olfactory receptors and circuits". In: Oxford Encyclopedia of Sensory Systems. W.M. Usery (ed.) New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp 421-437.

2019  Tucker, R.P. and M. Degen. "The expression and possible functions of tenascin-W during development and disease". Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 7:53.

2019  Shoemark, D.K., B. Ziegler, H. Watanabe, J. Strompen, R.P. Tucker, S. Özbek and J.C. Adams. "Emergence of a thrombospondin superfamily at the origin of metazoans". Molecular Biology and Evolution 36:1220-1238.

2018  Tucker, R.P. "Teneurins: Domain architecture, evolutionary origins and patterns of expression". Frontiers in Neuroscience 12:938.

2018  Ferralli, J., Tucker, R.P. and R. Chiquet-Ehrismann. "The teneurin C-terminal domain possesses nuclease activity and is apoptogenic". Biology Open 7: bio031765.

  • CHA101, Human Anatomy (Course Director)
  • CHA101L, Human Anatomy Laboratory (Course Director)
  • MDS471, Human Architecture and Function (Anatomy Discipline Leader)
  • Kaiser Foundation Basic Science Teaching Award, awarded by the UC Davis School of Medicine Class of 1998, Class of 2002, Class of 2007, Class of 2012, Class of 2017
  • Outstanding Basic Science Instructor, awarded by the UC Davis School of Medicine Class of 2002, Class of 2003, Class of 2004, Class of 2008, Class of 2014
  • Award for Excellence in Education, UC Davis School of Medicine, July 2005
  • John Tupper Prize for Excellence in Teaching, June 2007
  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group Teaching Award, 2011, 2014, 2018, 2019
  • Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching, UC Davis, May 2012
  • National Science Foundation