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Researcher | Research Overview

Leonard Zon's laboratory focuses on the use of the zebrafish model for research into hematopoiesis and as a screen for oncogenic genes and proteins. Dr. Zon chose the zebrafish because the zebrafish embryo is completely clear, providing a "real-time" view of all organs and systems as they develop. In addition, the species is extremely fecund – each mother lays 200-300 eggs weekly – and thrifty – a large number of animals can be kept in a relatively small space.

Finally, zebrafish have several naturally occurring mutants that mirror human anemias. The Zon laboratory has spearheaded the successful effort to sequence the zebrafish genome; isolated and cloned a gene responsible for congenital anemia; identified a gene – cdx4 – which, in concert with hox, is pivotal in hematopoiesis; and found a chemical that increases blood stem cells and creates screens for genetic mutations affecting cell proliferation and cancer susceptibility in the zebrafish and for small molecule suppressors of the cancer-susceptible crb cell cycle mutant.

Researcher | Research Background

Leonard Zon received his MD degree from Thomas Jefferson University. He completed an internship and residency at New England Deaconess Hospital and a fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Zon is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Researcher | Publications