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Block Health Science Building

Mail Stop # 1007
3000 Arlington Avenue
Toledo, Ohio 43614-2598
Phone: 419.383.4109
Fax: 419.383.3008

Mark H. Hankin, Ph.D.

Office: 104 Block Health Science Building
Tel: 419-383-4129
Fax: 419-383- 3008

1980,  B.A. University of Chicago
1985 Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
1984-87 Post-doc,  University of Pittsburgh

Research Interests:

·         Retinal development (1991-2000)
·         Education research, educational technology development and assessment (1997-present)

Research Summary:

Retinal Development

This work focused on two questions.

How do growing retinal axons navigate from the eye to the brain?  These studies used the ocular retardation (orJ) mutant mouse as an animal model since optic nerves fail to develop and the brain of these animals is essentially naïve vis-à-vis the ingrowth of retinal axons.  We took advantage of this and transplanted embryonic retina into the brain of a newborn orJ mutant mouse to study how growing retinal axons responded in vivo to different environments.  We determined that cues used by retinal axons as they navigate through the brain come from at least two sources: one set of local cues presented along the substrate pathway, and another set of long range cues that appeared to emanate from their primary brainstem target.

How does the chx10 transcription factor affect retinal development?  One important line of investigation in my lab that resulted from our work with the orJ mouse was to define the cellular phenotype of the mutant retina.  In a detailed immunohistochemical study of the early developing orJ retina, my graduate student, Meiying Liang demonstrated both a profound defect in the ability of ganglion cell axons within the eye to find their way to the optic nerve, as well as dramatic effects on retinal progenitor proliferation and bipolar cell specification and/or differentiation.  At the same time, we had noted that both the orJ gene locus and the chx10 transcription factor (expressed in early retinal development) mapped to a similar region of mouse chromosome 12.  This led to a collaboration in 1994 with Drs. Margit Burmeister (The University of Michigan) and Rod McInnes (Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto).  As a result, we determined that a null allele of the chx10 transcription factor gene was responsible for the ocular retardation mutation and led to an understanding that chx10 is an essential transcription factor for retinal development (Nature Genetics 12:376-384, 1996).

Further studies in my lab by another graduate student, Cynthia Bone-Larson, led to the demonstration that the genetic background could significantly modify the chx10-null/orJ phenotype (J Neurobiol 42:232-247, 2000).  It is well known that single-gene mutations must reside in a permissive genetic background for a disease phenotype to manifest and the chx10 mutation presented a striking example of this in eye development.

Educational Technology Development and Assessment

Translational Work in Education: Classroom ® Product ® Classroom.  In 1997, my colleagues – Drs. Dennis Morse and Bennett-Clarke (Department of Neurosciences) and Roy Schneider (Center for Creative Instruction) – and I developed an idea for new educational technology to help students learn human anatomy in the highly compressed, modern medical curriculum.  Working with staff in the Center for Creative Instruction (CCI), we produced Anatomy RevealedAnatomy Revealed uses a multidisciplinary approach in a multimedia, interactive environment to provide a virtual human anatomy dissection and correlates of its clinical relevance.  This included radiological images and videos of real patients explaining important clinical conditions.  Between 1999 and 2004, we produced four CD-ROMs that explored the anatomy of the head.

In 2003, McGraw-Hill Publishers approached us to develop an undergraduate version of Anatomy Revealed; this became Anatomy and Physiology Revealed (APR) (  In 2006, we completed APR version 1.0 and version 2.0 was released in July 2007.  APR presents an interactive cadaver dissection experience using a novel layering technique that allows the student to “peel away” layers of the human body to reveal structures beneath the surface.  APR also offers animations, histologic and radiologic imaging, audio pronunciations, and a comprehensive quizzing tool.  It is currently available as a CD-ROM or as an online resource.  Version 3.0 is currently in production.

 Education Research

One important outcome of my work in educational technology has been the development of new studies to assess the effectiveness of new educational technology and teaching strategies, and how understanding these approaches can help shape new curricula.  My ongoing educational research projects explore aspects of learning in the anatomical sciences.  Recently, I have initiated a research to develop and assess a curriculum for health care professional students that will provide background and experience in basic teaching skills that can improve patient education.

In 2005, my colleagues and I received a grant from the National Science Foundation for an exploratory study to determine how to best use technology in anatomy and physiology (A&P).  An important aspect of this work is that it established a collaboration between the University of Toledo (then the Medical College of Ohio) and three undergraduate institutions – Owens Community College, University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University (an historically black college/university).

In this study, we examined the effectiveness of short animations for learning in undergraduate A&P. We developed and evaluated a series of learning modules that covered the anatomy and function of the eye and were delivered in an online environment called Human Anatomy and Physiology Interactive Network, or HAPIN (figure at right).

Our pilot studies assessed the impact of HAPIN on student learning using pre- and post-tests and academic and demographic surveys as assessment tools. Three groups were involved:

Group 1 (no intervention): received traditional lectures and no access to HAPIN

Group 2: received traditional lectures but had access to HAPIN for self-study only

Group 3: received lectures that were augmented by HAPIN animations and had access to HAPIN for self-study.

Results of preliminary study: Whereas Groups 1 and 2 showed a modest improvement in post-test scores (9 and 17% improvement, respectively), Group 3 showed significantly greater improvement (36%) in post-test score (p=0.005).  Our conclusion is that using short animations to augment lecture contributes to improved learning in undergraduate A&P.

These studies are significant in two ways.  First, they provide a straightforward assessment of the effect of using technology in a lecture setting.  To our knowledge, this is one of the few demonstrations of a clear, positive effect of educational technology on student learning.  Second, this work provides data that will form the basis for a Phase II NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement grant that we are planning to submit January 10, 2008.  A significant addition to the group of collaborators on this project is Dr. Rebecca Schneider (Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the University of Toledo College of Education).  Dr. Schneider will provide greatly needed expertise in the field of education that will allow us to develop rigorous assessments of curriculum and teaching practice in anatomy and physiology


Teaching Interest :

I have been teaching in the anatomical sciences since 1983.  I am currently involved in teaching human anatomy and embryology two major courses:

·         Human Structure and Development (ANAT679) – College of Medicine

·         Anatomy for Physician Assistants (ANAT500) – College of Health Science and Human Service (Course Director since 2006)


I also give lectures on the visual system in Pathophysiology I (BMSP 631) – Neurosciences and Neurological Disorders in the College of Graduate Studies.


  • Educational Technology

    ·         Schneider R, MH Hankin, DE Morse, CA Bennett-Clarke. Orbit, Anatomy Revealed (Professional Edition) (Version 1.0) (CD-ROM). Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, OH, 2000.

    ·         Schneider R, MH Hankin, DE Morse, CA Bennett-Clarke. Face, Anatomy Revealed (Professional Edition) (Version 2.0) (CD-ROM). Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, OH, 2003.

    ·         Schneider R, MH Hankin, DE Morse, CA Bennett-Clarke. Nasal and Oral Cavities Anatomy Revealed (Professional Edition) (Version 1.0) (CD-ROM). Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, OH, 2003.

    ·         Schneider R, MH Hankin, DE Morse, CA Bennett-Clarke. Cranial Cavity, Anatomy Revealed (Professional Edition) (Version 1.0) (CD-ROM). Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, OH, 2004.

    ·         MH Hankin, CA Bennett-Clarke, DE Morse, W Fink, CA Taylor, DJ Gould, BS Griffis, RJ Klein, PL Passalacqua. (2005) HAPIN–Eye and Vision.  Retrieved from World Wide Wed: (use “hapin” to access website).

    ·         Schneider R, MH Hankin, DE Morse, CA Bennett-Clarke. Anatomy and Physiology Revealed (Undergraduate Edition) (Version 2.0) (CD-ROM). McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2008.

    ·         Greater Northwest Ohio Tech Prep Consortium.  A High School Anatomy and Physiology Course of Study, 2007.

    Articles Published in Scientific Journals

    ·         Hankin MH, RD Lund. Specific target-directed axonal outgrowth from transplanted embryonic rodent retinae into neonatal rat superior colliculus. Brain Res 408:344-348, 1987.

    ·         Hankin MH, RD Lund. Role of the target in directing the outgrowth of retinal axons: transplants reveal surface related and surface independent cues. J Comp Neurol 263:455-466, 1987.

    ·         Hankin MH, J Silver. The development of intersecting CNS fiber tracts: the corpus callosum and its perforant pathway. J Comp Neurol 272:177-190, 1988.

    ·         Hankin MH, J Silver. Death of the subcallosal corticoseptal boundary cells, including the glial sling, is correlated with the formation of the cavum septi pellucidi. J Comp Neurol 272:191-202, 1988.

    ·         Lund RD, MH Hankin, AJ Sefton, VH Perry. Conditions for optic axon outgrowth. Brain Behav Evol 31:218-226, 1988.

    ·         Hankin MH, RD Lund. Induction of target-directed optic axon outgrowth: effect of retinae transplanted to anophthalmic mice. Dev Biol 138:136-146, 1990.

    ·         Radel JD, MH Hankin, RD Lund. Proximity as a factor in the innervation of host brain regions by retinal transplants. J Comp Neurol 300:211-229, 1990.

    ·         Hankin MH, RD Lund. Directed early axonal outgrowth from retinal transplants into host rat brains. J Neurobiol 21:1202-1218, 1990.

    ·         Horsburgh GM, RD Lund, MH Hankin. Retinal transplants in congenitally blind mice: patterns of projection and synaptic connectivity. J Comp Neurol 327:323-340, 1993.

    ·         Hankin MH, F Hoover, D Goldman. Cues intrinsic to the retina induce nAChR gene expression during development. J Neurobiol 24:1099-1110, 1993.

    ·         Hankin MH, CF Lagenaur. Cell adhesion molecules in the early developing mouse retina: retinal neurons show preferential outgrowth in vitro on L1 but not N-CAM. J Neurobiol 25:472-487, 1994.

    ·         Lund RD, MH Hankin. Pathfinding by optic axons: transplantation studies in genetically and surgically blind mice. J Comp Neurol 356:481-489, 1995.

    ·         Burmeister M, J Novak, MY Liang, S Basu, L Ploder, NL Hawes, D Vidgen, F Hoover, D Goldman, VI Kalnins, TH Roderick, BA Taylor, MH Hankin, RR McInnes. Ocular retardation mouse caused by Chx10 homeobox null allele: impaired retinal progenitor proliferation and bipolar cell differentiation. Nature Genetics 12:376-384, 1996.

    ·         Mi Z, W Weng, MH Hankin, V Narayanan, CF Lagenaur. Maturational changes in cell surface antigen expression in mouse retina and optic pathway. Dev Brain Res 106:145-154, 1998.

    ·         Bone-Larson C, S Basu, JD Radel, T Perozek, MY Liang, NV Kapousta-Bruneau, D Green, M Burmeister, MH Hankin. Partial rescue of the ocular retardation phenotype by genetic modifiers. J Neurobiol 42:232-247, 2000.

    ·         Goldman D, MH Hankin, Z Li, X Dai, J Ding. Transgenic zebrafish for studying CNS development and regeneration. Transgen Res 10:21-33, 2001.

    ·         Livne-Bar I, M Pacal, MC Cheung, MH Hankin, J Trogadis, D Chen, KM Dorval, R Bremner. Chx10 is required to block photoreceptor differentiation but is dispensable for progenitor proliferation in the postnatal retina. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 69:328-331, 2006.

Last Updated: 3/22/15