students walk on University of Idaho campus

Visit UI

Learn about the many reasons the University of Idaho could be a perfect fit for you. Schedule Your Visit

Parents on campus during orientation

Homecoming Sept. 25-Oct. 1

Join other Vandal families for a week of celebration and Vandal traditions. View Calendar

campus full of students

UI Retirees Association

UIRA has a membership of nearly 500 from every part of the University. Learn More

Peter G. Fuerst

Peter G. Fuerst

Associate Professor


Life Sciences South 141


(208) 885-7512

Mailing Address

Dept. of Biological Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter MS 3051
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3051

Research: Biomedical Science, Cellular & Molecular Biology

  • Ph.D. Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Iowa State University, 2003
  • B.A. Microbiology, Miami University, 1998

My lab is attempting to identify and understand the molecular cues that promote development of the nervous system by studying mice that have mutations in recognition factors and that express fluorescent markers that label specific neural cell types.

  • Blank M, Fuerst, P.G., Stevens B, Nouri N, Kirkby L, Warrier D, Barres BA, Feller MB, Huberman AD, Burgess RW, Garner CC. (2011). The Down Syndrome Critical Region Regulates Retinogeniculate Refinement. J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 13;31 (15):5764-5776.
  • Fuerst, P. G., Harris, B.S., Johnson, K.R., and Burgess, R.W. (2010). A novel null allele of mouse Dscam survives to adulthood on an inbred C3H background with reduced phenotypic variability. Genesis, 2010 Oct 1;48(10):578-84.
  • Fuerst, P.G., Bruce, F., Tian, M., Wei, W., Elstrott, J., Feller, M.B., Erskine, L., Singer, J.H., and Burgess, R.W. (2009). DSCAM and DSCAML1 function in self-avoidance in multiple cell types in the developing mouse retina. Neuron 64, 484-497.
  • Fuerst, P.G., and Burgess R.W. (2009). Adhesion molecules in establishing retinal circuitry. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 19, 389-394.
  • Fuerst, P.G., Koizumi, A., Masland, R.H., and Burgess, R.W. (2008). Neurite arborization and mosaic spacing in the mouse retina require DSCAM. Nature 451, 470-474.
  • Brady, T.L., Fuerst, P.G., Dick, R.A., Schmidt, C., and Voytas, D.F. (2008). Retrotransposon target site selection by imitation of a cellular protein. Molecular and Cellular Biology 28, 1230-1239.
  • Fuerst, P.G., Rauch, S.M., and Burgess, R.W. (2007). Defects in eye development in transgenic mice overexpressing the heparan sulfate proteoglycan agrin. Developmental Biology 303, 165-180.
  • Fuerst, P.G., and Voytas, D.F. (2003). CEN plasmid segregation is destabilized by tethered determinants of Ty 5 integration specificity: a role for double-strand breaks in CEN antagonism. Chromosoma 112, 58-65.

  • Genetic Regulation of Retinal Development: In the Fuerst lab, we use mouse models that have mutations or are transgenic to understand how the nervous system is wired, with a focus on the retina, the neural portion of the eye. The cells of the retina are roughly divided into cells that collect light information, the photoreceptors, interneurons that process information and the ganglion cells that send information to the rest of the brain. Our lab is interested in understanding how genes, and the proteins they encode, facilitate synaptic connectivity within the retina and brain in general.
  • Cell-Cell Interactions and the Balance of Life and Death: During development a large excess of neurons is produced. Neurons that integrate into functional circuitry survive while others undergo a process called developmental, or programmed, cell death. The balance between life and death for these neurons involve a type of protein on their surface, called cell adhesion molecules. We study how these molecules result in survival or death of cells by studying tissue in culture or with mouse models.
  • Neural Connectivity: The Human nervous system has an estimated 10,000 distinct types of neurons. Each of these neuron types makes a limited number of connections with a small number of other cell types. Our lab is interested in understanding how cell types choose the correct cells from which to receive information and to which to send information.


Department of Biological Sciences

Physical Address:
Life Sciences South 252

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3051
Moscow, ID 83844-3051

Phone: (208) 885-6280

Fax: (208) 885-7905


Web: Department of Biological Sciences