A photo of Aaron Zorn.

Perinatal Institute Endowed Research Chair

Director, Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM)
Associate Director, Division of Developmental Biology
Associate Director, Digestive Health Center

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Biography & Affiliation


Aaron M. Zorn, PhD, leads the Zorn lab with the research goal to understand the embryonic development respiratory and digestive systems. We use a combination of animal models and human pluripotent stem cells to investigate the genetic pathways underlying organ formation. The research in this lab helps our understanding of congenital diseases and the ability to generate organoids - human organ tissue in a dish, for regenerative medicine.

Research Interests

Development of lung, liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract; vertebrate embryology

Learn more about CuSTOM.

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Research Divisions

Developmental Biology


BSc: University of Toronto, Canada.

PhD: University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1995.

Postdoctoral: Wellcome Trust Cancer Research Campaign Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, 1996-1999.

Research Fellow: Wellcome Trust Gurdon Institute, Universtiy of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, 1999-2002.


Selected Publication

Endosome-Mediated Epithelial Remodeling Downstream of Hedgehog-Gli Is Required for Tracheoesophageal Separation. Nasr, T; Mancini, P; Rankin, SA; Edwards, NA; Agricola, ZN; Kenny, AP; Kinney, JL; Daniels, K; Vardanyan, J; Han, L; et al. Developmental Cell. 2019; 51:665-674.e6.

Modelling human hepato-biliary-pancreatic organogenesis from the foregut–midgut boundary. Koike, H; Iwasawa, K; Ouchi, R; Maezawa, M; Giesbrecht, K; Saiki, N; Ferguson, A; Kimura, M; Thompson, WL; Wells, JM; et al. Nature. 2019; 574:112-116.

Genomic integration of Wnt/beta-catenin and BMP/Smad1 signaling coordinates foregut and hindgut transcriptional programs. Stevens, ML; Chaturvedi, P; Rankin, SA; Macdonald, M; Jagannathan, S; Yukawa, M; Barski, A; Zorn, AM. Development (Cambridge). 2017; 144:1283-1295.

A Retinoic Acid-Hedgehog Cascade Coordinates Mesoderm-Inducing Signals and Endoderm Competence during Lung Specification. Rankin, SA; Han, L; McCracken, KW; Kenny, AP; Anglin, CT; Grigg, EA; Crawford, CM; Wells, JM; Shannon, JM; Zorn, AM. Cell Reports. 2016; 16:66-78.

Sizzled-Tolloid Interactions Maintain Foregut Progenitors by Regulating Fibronectin-Dependent BMP Signaling. Kenny, AP; Rankin, SA; Allbee, AW; Prewitt, AR; Zhang, Z; Tabangin, ME; Shifley, ET; Louza, MP; Zorn, AM. Developmental Cell. 2012; 23:292-304.

Interactions Between SOX Factors and Wnt/beta-Catenin Signaling in Development and Disease. Kormish, JD; Sinner, D; Zorn, AM. Developmental Dynamics. 2010; 239:NA-NA.

Vertebrate Endoderm Development and Organ Formation. Zorn, AM; Wells, JM. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 2009; 25:221-251.

Sfrp5 coordinates foregut specification and morphogenesis by antagonizing both canonical and noncanonical Wnt11 signaling. Li, Y; Rankin, SA; Sinner, D; Kenny, AP; Krieg, PA; Zorn, AM. Genes and Development. 2008; 22:3050-3063.

Repression of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the anterior endoderm is essential for liver and pancreas development. McLin, VA; Rankin, SA; Zorn, AM. Development (Cambridge). 2007; 134:2207-2217.

Global analysis of the transcriptional network controlling Xenopus endoderm formation. Sinner, D; Kirilenko, P; Rankin, S; Wei, E; Howard, L; Kofron, M; Heasman, J; Woodland, HR; Zorn, AM. Development (Cambridge). 2006; 133:1955-1966.