Mehdi's paper published in eLIFE!

Our lab has published in eLIFE a study on long non-coding RNAs: “Individual long non-coding RNAs have no overt functions in zebrafish embryogenesis, viability and fertility”.

The functions of long-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) remain a mystery. In this study 25 zebrafish lncRNAs candidate genes were selected based on their conservation, expression pattern and proximity to developmental regulators. CRISPR-Cas9 was used to generate a total of 32 deletion alleles across these 25 lncRNAs. They found that none of these genes are required for embryogenesis, viability or fertility. This study suggests that lncRNAs don’t have obvious roles in embryogenesis, viability or fertility indicating they may have more redundant, subtle or context dependent roles.

Congratulations to lead author Mehdi, as well as Kathryn and Lindsey!

We will be joining the Biozentrum at the University of Basel

We will be moving to the Biozentrum at the University of Basel, Switzerland. The Biozentrum is one of the leading Life Sciences institutes in the world. Founded in 1971, it has been the birth place of many fundamental discoveries in biology and medicine (e.g. homeobox; TOR kinase) and spawned several Nobel Laureates. The Biozentrum currently consists of 30 groups that study how molecules and cells create life, spanning the scale from atom to organism. English is the working language. 

Basel is a cosmopolitan city ranked world-wide in the top 10 for quality of life. It has been home to Paracelsus, Bernoulli, Euler, Nietzsche, Jung, Hofmann, Arber and Federer, and is now the center for the Life Sciences in continental Europe, with institutes such as the Biozentrum, FMI and D-BSSE, and the headquarters of Novartis, Roche and Actelion. 

In 2019/2020 the Biozentrum will get a new home and move into a stunning new building (see image). Currently all of our research continues to take place at Harvard. The first cohort of lab members will move when our lab and fish facility in Basel are fully functional. Please contact Alex if you are interested in joining us (

We are the cover of Science 2018 Breakthrough of the Year!

The 2018 Breakthrough of the Year by Science Magazine was chosen to be “Development cell by cell”. Amongst other papers this includes the work done by Jeff/Yiqun and Bushra/Jamie on reconstructing cell by cell development in zebrafish which were published earlier this year.

Science Magazine story:

Jeff and Yiqun’s paper:
Bushra and Jamie’s paper:

Tessa's paper published in Development

Our latest paper "Conserved regulation of Nodal-mediated left-right patterning in zebrafish and mouse" was published in Development.

Nodal signaling is crucial for left-right patterning, however some studies have suggested differences between zebrafish and mouse. In this study, single and double mutants for genes involved in Nodal signaling were generated. Imaging of mutant phenotypes as well as biochemical and activity assays revealed the regulatory logic of this system. These results show that left-right patterning mechanisms are conserved from zebrafish to mouse.


Congratulations Tessa!