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Brant Weinstein is an expert on zebrafish vascular development. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying microtubule assembly in yeast with Frank Solomon and David Botstein, then went on to pursue postdoctoral studies on hematopoietic and vascular development in the zebrafish under Dr. Mark Fishman at Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital. He began as an independent investigator at the NIH in 1997. His laboratory has pioneered many of the key tools and resources used for vascular biology research in the fish, including the widely used confocal microangiography method, a comprehensive atlas of the anatomy of the developing zebrafish vasculature, numerous vascular-specific transgenic fish lines, and methods for high resolution in vivo time-lapse imaging of zebrafish blood vessels. Using these and other tools and resources, his laboratory has made a variety of seminal discoveries in the areas of vascular specification, differentiation, and patterning, including a novel pathway regulating arterial identity, a role for neuronal guidance factors in vascular patterning, a mechanism for vascular lumen formation in vivo, and identification and characterization of the lymphatic vascular system in the zebrafish.
In addition to his scientific research, Dr. Weinstein has been heavily involved in service work for both the zebrafish and vascular biology research communities. He was founding organizer of the Strategic Conference of Zebrafish Investigators, and is the current President of the International Zebrafish Society. He was also a council member and President of the North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO), and the founding and long-time organizer of the Developmental Vascular Biology (DVB) workshop, the first (and still one of the most popular) NAVBO-sponsored conferences. At the National Institutes of Health, where Dr. Weinstein carries out his research work, he serves as an Associate Scientific Director leading the NICHD Division of Developmental Biology.
Mary Mullins received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley – both degrees in biochemistry. She spent her postdoctoral years in Germany at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, under the advisory of 1995 Nobel Prize awardee Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. She began her career at the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor in 1995 in the department of Cell and Developmental Biology, where she is currently Full Professor and Vice Chair of Cell Biology. Mary’s research involves using the zebrafish to study fundamental processes of development and cell biology. Her lab is currently studying the molecular mechanism of signal transduction of a BMP (Bone Morphogenetic Protein) pathway functioning in establishing the vertebrate body plan. Her group uses quantitative approaches to study the formation, function, and temporal regulation of a BMP morphogen gradient, which specifies diverse cell types along the dorsal-ventral axis. Through forward genetic adult screens in the zebrafish, she expanded her studies to include maternal regulation of embryonic development, where she has discovered key regulators of egg and oocyte polarity, cell cleavage, and early embryonic patterning. A major focus now is to determine the mechanisms that generate oocyte polarity.
Mary is also actively involved in supporting the zebrafish and developmental genetics communities more broadly through her participation in the Society for Developmental Biology as Secretary for 6 years, as study section member at the American Cancer Society and NIH DEV-2, as well as Chair of DEV-2. She is a founding Associate Editor at PLOS Genetics and Academic Editor at PLOS Biology, and serves as Vice President of the International Zebrafish Society. She has organized many conferences, including the International Zebrafish conference, the SCZI PI meeting, as well as upcoming FASEB conferences on TGF-Signaling in Development and Disease.
Stephan Neuhauss is an expert in visual system development and function. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tübingen, working at Harvard / Massachusetts General Hospital with Wolfgang Driever. There he took part in one of the two large scale mutant screens in zebrafish. He spent his postdoctoral stay at the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen in Friedrich Bonhoeffer’s lab beginning his studies on the retina and visual behavior. He brought zebrafish genetics to Switzerland as an independent group leader, later assistant professor at the ETH Zurich, before obtaining his present position as professor for neurobiology at the University of Zurich. His laboratory has pioneered the use of behavioral genetic and electrophysiological approaches in the zebrafish. This has led to a number of important contributions to our understanding of vision and its disorders, among them the first sensory model of eye movement disorders, identification and functional characterization of novel cone phototransduction cascade components and novel roles for glutamate homeostasis in synapses.
In addition to his scientific research, Prof. Neuhauss is heavily involved in service work at his University as the director of the Life Science Zürich Graduate School and in the zebrafish community as a founding member and vice-president of the Swiss Zebrafish Society (the first national zebrafish society), the vice-president of EuFishBioMed, and current board members and secretary of the International Zebrafish Society. He was involved in the organization of a number of zebrafish and vision related international conferences.
Mary Halloran’s research is aimed at understanding mechanisms of neuronal morphogenesis and development of neural circuits. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin, studying axon guidance in rodent brain in Dr. Kate Kalil’s lab. For her postdoctoral work, she moved to the University of Michigan and Dr. John Kuwada’s lab, where she began working with the zebrafish model. She returned to the University of Wisconsin in 2000 to set up her own lab. Her lab has established high resolution in vivo imaging approaches to image not only neuronal cell behavior but also subcellular processes such as endosomal trafficking, microtubule dynamics, and molecular activity of critical developmental regulators including RhoGTPase and F-actin. The Halloran lab has used these approaches to reveal molecular mechanisms that regulate axon growth, branching and guidance during neuronal development. Her lab also has used live imaging approaches to discover mechanisms that mediate epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and migration of neural crest cells.
In addition to running her research laboratory, Dr. Halloran teaches courses for graduate students and undergraduates, including a laboratory class for undergraduates in which students use zebrafish embryos to learn concepts of developmental biology and experience hands-on research projects. Dr. Halloran also devotes considerable effort to service activities, both at the University of Wisconsin and in the larger scientific community. She serves as director of the UW Neuroscience Training Program, a large, interdepartmental graduate program, and is the P.I. for an NIH T32 training grant that supports students in the program. In service to the zebrafish community, Dr. Halloran is the P.I. for the long-running NIH grant that funds the biannual International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics. She also currently serves as Treasurer for the International Zebrafish Society.
Peter D. Currie received his PhD in Drosophilia genetics from Syracuse University, New York, USA.
His work is centered in understanding how small the freshwater zebrafish is able to build and regenerate both skeletal and cardiac muscle.
Dr. Koichi Kawakami is a professor of Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics and Department of Genetics, SOKENDAI (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies), Mishima, Japan. Dr. Kawakami received his PhD from University of Tokyo (Molecular Biology). Dr. Kawakami developed a vertebrate transposon system using the Tol2 element from the medaka fish, and applied it to important genetic methods in zebrafish including BAC transgenesis, gene trapping, enhancer trapping and the Gal4-UAS system. Frther, Dr. Kawakami developed transgenesis methods in other model vertebrates, including mouse, frog and chicken, and gene transfer in culture cells. Kawakami lab has been performed a large-scale genetic screen using those methods and generated a number of transgenic fish that expressed Gal4 in specific tissues, cells and organs. Dr. Kawakami is currently studying functional neuronal circuits in the brain by calcium imaging and behavioral genetics.
Miguel Allende received his Bachelor’s in Biology from the Catholic University of Chile in 1987 and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. At the beginning of his doctoral studies with Dr. Eric Weinberg, he had the opportunity to carry out research stays in the labs of Monte Westerfield and Christianne Nüsslein-Volhard, where he became a convert to the zebrafish as a model. His thesis involved the analysis of several transcription factors important for neural and muscle specification, publishing several pioneering papers. At the time, several labs were developing genetic tools and Dr. Allende then joined the lab of Dr. Nancy Hopkins at MIT who was trying to develop insertional as an alternative to chemical mutagenesis. During his postdoc, and together with a dedicated team of co-workers, they were able to use modified retroviruses to efficiently mutagenize genes and to rapidly identify the lesioned loci by reverse PCR cloning. In 1997, Dr. Allende returned to his home country of Chile, where he established the first zebrafish lab in Latin America. He obtained an Associate Professor position in 2000 at the Department of Biology, School of Science, University of Chile and started his independent career. Since then, he has worked on several topics including neural development, neuronal regeneration, innate immunity, metal toxicology and genomics. His lab has developed several techniques such as a testing method for enhancer activity, a quantitative inflammation assay, electroablation and electroporation methods and a system for transplanting microalgae into fish embryos. He has published 65 papers all but three of which involve zebrafish research.
Dr Allende is, since 2010, a Full Professor at the University of Chile and has been named to the Chilean Academy of Sciences in 2015, among other distinctions. He sits on the University’s Board for Institutional Evaluation and has been chair of the Biology study section of FONDECYT, the Chilean science funding agency. He was President of the Chilean Society for Cell Biology and Treasurer of the Latin American Society for Developmental Biology. He was a founding member and served on the first Board of the Latin American Zebrafish Network (LAZEN) which has already held four meetings and courses in the region. In addition to his research, Dr. Allende is interested in promoting science education by using the zebrafish as an educational tool. He participates in the country’s Portable Labs Program that trains teachers to use materials provided by participating research labs to have children perform experiments in the classroom. The program has expanded to reach dozens of schools in all of the regions of the country and educators from all over Latin America have come to be trained in its implementation.
Michael Brand in an expert on zebrafish development and regeneration of the nervous system. He studied Biology at the University of Cologne, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Harvard University. He received a Doctorate in the Natural Sciences from the University of Cologne, working with José Campos-Ortega on the genetic contral of early neurogenesis of the fruit fly Drosophila. During his postdoctoral work at UC San Francisco with YN Jan he studied development of the flies' peripheral nervous system. From 1992 in Janni Nüsslein-Volhards department at the MPI in Tübingen, he was part of the team of scientists pioneering large scale genetic screens in zebrafish, and described many of the mutants affecting early development of the zebrafish nervous system. From 1996, as an independent PI at the University of Heidelberg and at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, he studied brain organizer signaling and in particular, the role of Fgf signaling. In 2003, he became Professor of Developmental Genetics at Dresden University, and studied development, regeneration and anatomy of the zebrafish brain and eye, using cellular analysis, stem cell technologies, biophysics, forward and reverse-genetic functional studies, and conditional Cre loxP recombineering technology.
In addition to his scientific activities, Prof. Brand was actively involved in building up the Dresden Life Sciences campus, as a founding director of the CRTD Research Center for Regenerative Therapies / Cluster of Excellence (www.crt-dresden.de) at Dresden University, Germany, and as a director of the Biotechnology Center. He co-founded the European Zebrafish Conference series, and serves as a board member of the International Zebrafish Society and the Zebrafish Disease Models Society. He also serves as an elected panel member for Developmental Biology of the DFG study section, an elected EMBO member, and was awarded an ERC advanced grant, and a First Class Order of Merit of the FR of Germany for his scientific achievements
Corinne Houart is a leader in developmental neurobiology. She obtained her PhD in the University of Brussels, working on cancer gene regulation. She established her zebrafish original research niche during her postdoctoral training in Eugene, identifying the anterior neural border as an organizer required for forebrain regionalization and showing that specification of forebrain regions takes place at neural plate stage. She started her research team in 2001, focusing on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that drive zebrafish forebrain development, understanding the mechanisms underlying vertebrate brain regionalization. Her team now embarked in identifying similarities and divergences between zebrafish and mouse early forebrain regionalization and aim to understand how temporal and quantitative differences in signaling center activities, and downstream transcriptional integrators, shape forebrain size and complexity across vertebrates. The lab is more recently also devoting part of its research effort in understanding the non-nuclear role of splicing factors in neuronal maturation and their involvement in neurodegeneration.
In addition to her research contributions, Corinne Houart has extensive experience in organizing international courses (Director of the MBL zebrafish international summer course, Organizer of a biennial Comparative Neurobiology International EMBO course) and conferences. She couples research to teaching, with an extensive experience in undergraduate and postgraduate education. For the past 5 years she is also involved in University administration and leadership, shaping neuroscience strategies at Divisional and School levels.
Biography: Steve Wilson is Professor of Developmental Genetics and Vice-dean for Research at UCL in London. Ever since his post-doc at the University of Michigan with Steve Easter, his research has been focused on brain development using zebrafish as a model system. He established an independent research group in 1992 and moved to UCL in 1998 as a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, was appointed Professor of Developmental Genetics in 2002 and Vice-Dean for Research in 2007. He is Deputy Editor in Chief for the journal Development and Chair of the Wellcome Trust Basic Science Interview Committee.
Brain patterning: A major focus for Steve’s research has been to elucidate the signalling pathways that establish anterior-posterior, dorsoventral and left-right pattern in the brain. For instance, mutations and manipulations that modulate Wnt signalling within the neural plate change the allocation of regional fates in both forebrain and eyes. Furthermore, his lab’s studies of morphogenesis and cell movements led to the demonstration of critical roles for a non-canonical Wnt-PCP pathway during both mesodermal and CNS morphogenesis.
Eye development: One current focus for research in Steve’s lab is to resolve the genetic bases of, and cellular mechanisms underlying, eye specification and morphogenesis with a linked goal of understanding why MAC (microphthalmia, anopthalmia and coloboma) phenotypes can arise when eye formation is disrupted. One approach is to use high-resolution time-lapse imaging to characterize the cell and tissue movements accompanying eye formation and to couple this with genetic screens to identify mutations that disrupt eye formation.
Brain asymmetry: Research from the Wilson lab has helped to establish the zebrafish as the leading vertebrate model to study the development of brain asymmetry. His lab has shown that breaking of symmetry and allocation of handedness to the asymmetry are separable processes and that Nodal, Wnt and Fgf pathways together break symmetry and determine its laterality. Complementing genetic studies, his team are analyzing the developmental neuroanatomy of the brain, particularly with respect to asymmetric circuitry. These neuroanatomical studies underpin research that aims to link circuitry to neuronal activity and behaviour. One major challenge is to identify complex behaviours that are sufficiently robust to be amenable to both genetic and neuroanatomical interrogation. To this end, Steve’s lab, and others, are developing assays for simple, robust behavioural assays in fry. Coupled to analysing behaviour, his lab is using genetic/optogenetic approaches to interrogate neuronal activity in lateralised brain nuclei. For instance, they have recently found that the left and right habenulae respond to different sensory stimuli and that loss of brain asymmetry impairs the ability to respond to such stimuli. The long-term goal of his team’s research is to be able to move seamlessly from genes through developmental mechanisms to circuits and behaviour in the intact developing animal.
Claire Wyart did her undergrad studies in the Ecole Normale Supérieure Ulm between 1996 and 2000. She joined the biophysics lab of Didier Chatenay for her PhD between 2000 and 2003 in the Institute of Physics in the University of Strasbourg. During her PhD, Claire developed novel methods for controlling the architecture of neuronal networks in vitro and demonstrated mechanisms underlying the emergence of spontaneous activity. After one year of teaching in Tibetan schools, she joined UC Berkeley for her postdoctoral fellowship in the labs of Prof. Noam Sobel and Ehud Isacoff between 2005 and 2010. She developed optogenetic methods in vivo by taking advantage of the transparency of the zebrafish larva. In this small vertebrate model, Claire used optogenetics to study sensory-motor integration, analyzing the processing of visual, mechanosensory and chemosensory pathways modulating locomotion. Since 2011, Claire started her team in Brain and Spinal cord Institute (ICM) with the support of the ATIP / Avenir from Inserm and CNRS with the Fondation Bettencourt-Schuller, a chair of excellence from the Ecole des Neurosciences de Paris (ENP) and the emergence programme of the City of Paris.
Subsequently, her team received support from the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant in 2012, the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) research grant in 2013, and a National Institute of Health (NIH) research grant from 2014. She became an EMBO-Young Investigator (EMBO-YIP) and received the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Robertson Innovation in Neuroscience award in 2016. She received the award from the Foundation for Scientific Education and Research (FSER) in 2017.
Sharon Amacher is an expert on zebrafish muscle patterning and development. She was an undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley and did her graduate work at the University of Washington, studying muscle gene regulation with Dr. Stephen Hauschka. As a postdoctoral fellow, she worked with Dr. Charles Kimmel at the University of Oregon, studying zebrafish mesodermal specification and patterning. In 1999, she joined the faculty at UC Berkeley, becoming full professor in 2011. In 2013, she moved to the Ohio State University to become part of the growing muscle development and disease community at OSU and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Her group’s contributions include developing the first real-time reporter of segmentation clock function with single-cell resolution, a discovery that has lead to important new insights into segmental patterning, developing and enhancing critical new reverse genetic strategies in zebrafish, an innovation that has had a major impact both in and outside the zebrafish research community, and probing deeply into the genetic and cellular interactions that control morphogenesis during muscle development and disease.
In addition to scientific research and teaching, Dr. Amacher has been involved in service to the zebrafish and developmental biology communities. She has organized the International Zebrafish Development and Genetics Conference and the Strategic Conference of Zebrafish Investigators. She served on NIH Zebrafish Tools RFA review panel and the US Zebrafish TILLING Consortium External Advisory Board. Currently she is an external advisory board member for the Zebrafish International Resource Center and an interim board member for the International Zebrafish Society. She has a strong record of training the next generation; she has participated in two summer courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory – Embryology and Zebrafish Development and Genetics – for a collective total of 13 years; she is currently the co-director for the MBL Zebrafish summer course. At The Ohio State University, she is currently Vice Chair of her department, Molecular Genetics.
Rebecca Burdine joined the faculty at Princeton in 2003. Her lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms that control left-right patterning and asymmetric organ morphogenesis. The lab also explores other developmental process involving cilia, including kidney structure and skeletal formation. She was named the 44th Mallinckrodt Scholar for the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation, and received a Scientist Development Career Award from the American Heart Association in 2003. She is on the Editorial board for Cell Reports, and regularly serves on grant review panels for the NIH and NSF. At Princeton, she teaches the undergraduate course Mol348 Cell and Developmental Biology with Professor Devenport, and team teaches the graduate course Mol506 Cell and Developmental Biology.
Dr. Burdine graduated summa cum laude from Western Kentucky University, majoring in Recombinant Gene Technology with a minor in Chemistry. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University for her thesis work with Dr. Michael Stern that included identifying and characterizing C. elegans egl-17, one of the first FGFs identified in invertebrates. She determined that EGL-17 provided a directional cue for migrating sex myoblasts, providing insight into the role of FGF signaling in cell migration. Dr. Burdine carried out her postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Alexander F. Schier (Harvard) when he was at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University. Using zebrafish as a model system, she focused on Nodal signaling and the mechanisms underlying vertebrate left-right patterning. Her work helped to ascertain that Nodal signaling is not required to generate organ asymmetry, but instead acts to consistently bias the asymmetric placement of these same organs. How Nodal biases organ asymmetry is a major focus of her current research.
Dr. Burdine is also parent to a child with Angelman Syndrome, and was a founding member and Chief Scientific Officer for the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics from 2008 until 2016. She also served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. Dr. Burdine currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer for the Pitt-Hopkins Research Foundation
David Raible studies mechanosensory hair cell development, death and regeneration in zebrafish as models for hearing and balance disorders. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania studying glial cell development, and spent an additional year at Penn studying axon guidance. He completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Judith Eisen at the University of Oregon studying zebrafish neural crest development. Dr. Raible established an independent research program at the University of Washington in 1995, where he is currently Professor. He is a founding member of Oricula LLC, with a goal to develop medicines that prevent hearing loss.
Dr. Raible has been active in the zebrafish and developmental biology research communities. He has been a lead organizer for the Strategic Conference of Zebrafish Investigators and the International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics. He served on the Board of Directors for the Society for Developmental Biology from 2007-2013.
Lilianna (Lila) Solnica-Krezel, Ph.D., was raised in Poland and completed her undergraduate education and M.S. in molecular biology at the University of Warsaw. She obtained her Ph.D. in Oncology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. She carried out her postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. In 1996, she established her independent laboratory focusing on zebrafish embryogenesis at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, where she became Professor of Biological Sciences in 2005, and later, the Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of Developmental Genetics and University Professor. Since 2010, Solnica-Krezel has been the Professor and Head of the Department of Developmental Biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and a founding co-Director of the Washington University in St. Louis Center of Regenerative Medicine. She is a member and co-head of Morphogenesis Section of Faculty of 1000, serves on editorial boards of Developmental Biology, Development and Developmental Cell and served as Associate Editor at Developmental Dynamics, and served or serves on the Scientific Board of the Zebrafish International Resource Center, Board of Scientific Counselors of the NICHD Intramural Program, Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation among others.
Solnica-Krezel’s research group is employing zebrafish and embryonic stem cells to study the genetic mechanisms underlying early embryonic development, and in particular the process of gastrulation during which the animal body plan is established. Dr. Solnica-Krezel has a long-term expertise in using the zebrafish model for functional annotation of vertebrate genes, having established methods of chemical mutagenesis and helped to coordinate the first large-scale genetic screens that netted thousands of mutations affecting various aspects of zebrafish development, from gastrulation through vascular, neural, craniofacial, eye and ear development. She also identified or generated mutations that model such human birth defects or diseases, such as holoprosencephaly, tuberous sclerosis complex or scoliosis. Using funding from many agencies, including grants from NIH, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Pew Scholars Program, Human Frontiers Science Program, and Department of Defense, her laboratory has been focused on dissecting the roles of Wnt/PCP, Dchs/Fat, GPCR, and Stat3 pathways and epigenetic mechanisms of the patterning and morphogenetic processes during early embryogenesis. Dr. Solnica-Krezel has a long-standing interest and commitment to training biomedical scientists at all stages of their education and scientific career. During her tenure at Vanderbilt and Washington Universities, she taught genetics, developmental biology and courses on cell movements to undergraduate, graduate and MSTP students. She has mentored or co-mentored many undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty who continued their education and many of whom advance their independent careers in academia.
Monte Westerfield is Professor of Biology and Member of the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon, Eugene. He established and directs the Zebrafish International Resource Center and ZFIN, the zebrafish model organism database. His laboratory studies Usher syndrome, the leading cause of combined deafness and blindness in humans and has used zebrafish models to validate disease causing gene variants in human patients. His laboratory cloned the first zebrafish mutant gene and generated the first transgenic zebrafish. He heads the zebrafish Model Organism Screening Center for the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Prior to joining the faculty at Oregon, Dr. Westerfield received an A.B. from Princeton University in Physics and Biology, and a Ph.D. from Duke University Medical School in Physiology and Pharmacology. He trained as a Fulbright Scholar at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany and in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. He has been awarded Sloan, Fogarty and Guggenheim Fellowships, the McKnight Development Award, the Medical Research Foundation Award, and the Von Humboldt Prize. Dr. Westerfield currently serves on the Advisory Council to the National Institute of Deafness and other Communicative Disorders of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Leonard I. Zon is the Grousbeck Professor of Pediatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of the Stem Cell Program, Children’s Hospital Boston. He is founder and former president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and chair of the Executive Committee of the recently formed Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI). In 2005, he completed a term as President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. In that same year, Dr. Zon was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. In 2008, Dr. Zon was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and in 2010, Dr. Zon was awarded the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize from American Society of Hematology. In 2013, Dr. Zon received the ISEH Donald Metcalf Lecture Award.
Dr. Zon received a B.S. degree in chemistry and natural sciences from Muhlenberg College and an M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College. He subsequently did an internal medicine residency at New England Deaconess Hospital and a fellowship in medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His postdoctoral research was in the laboratory of Stuart Orkin.
Dr. Zon is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in the fields of stem cell biology and cancer genetics. He has been the pre-eminent figure in establishing the zebrafish as an invaluable genetic model for the study of the blood and hematopoietic development. The laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. They have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. They also have undertaken chemical genetic approach to blood development and have found that prostaglandins upregulates blood stem cells. This has led to a clinical trial to improve engraftment for patients receiving cord blood transplants. They recently developed suppressor screening genetics and found that transcriptional elongation regulates blood cell fate.
The laboratory has also developed zebrafish models of cancer. They have generated a melanoma model in the zebrafish system using transgenics. Transgenic fish get nevi, and in a combination with a p53 mutant fish develop melanomas. They recently found a histone methyltransferase that can accelerate melanoma, and discovered a small molecule that blocks transcription elongation and suppresses melanoma growth.