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The long-term research goal in the Zorn lab at Cincinnati
Children’s Research Foundation is to understand the molecular mechanisms
controlling the development of the respiratory and digestive organs including
lung, liver, pancreas and the intestine, which are derived from the embryonic
We use frog and mouse embryos to investigate the complex
genetic pathways underlying this poorly understood process of organ formation.
In particular we investigate how tissue interactions and transcription factors
control cell identity in the embryo. This research will help our understanding
of congenital diseases in these organ systems and the ability to direct the
development of stem cells to make therapeutically useful tissue. We collaborate
closely with the Wells lab and other investigators in the Endoderm Club and in
the Digestive Health Center. We are also
involved in developing genomic resources for Xenopus and we help maintain
Xenbase: the Xenopus model organism database.
Our current research focuses on three developmental steps
in the progression toward making foregut organs, endoderm specification,
endoderm patterning and organ bud formation.
The Zorn lab trains graduate students who are in the Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program. Potential graduate students can learn more through the Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program website. Learn more here about the postdoctoral positions available or contact Zorn about training opportunities.
Using cutting edge genome scale analysis we are
investigating how hundred’s of genes interact in a complex regulatory network
to orchestrate of embryonic endoderm development during gastrulation.
Once the endoderm is specified, we are examining the growth factors and transcription factors that pattern the endoderm instructing some cells to become the foregut containing the liver pancreas and lung precursors.
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Early in development some of the cells in the developing foregut are induced to become liver. We are investigating the genetic basis of this poorly understood process.
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