A photo of Amanda Zacharias.

Amanda L. Zacharias, PhD

  • Member, Division of Developmental Biology
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



I’m a research biologist aiming to understand how an embryo develops: its gene expression, cell signaling, cell shape changes and cell migrations. In my lab, we’re interested in how cellular metabolism impacts these processes and how vitamins influence cellular metabolism in embryos.

To study the functions of cellular metabolism, we aim to understand the embryonic development of a simple animal completely using time-lapse imaging. We utilize the organism Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) because they are fast, inexpensive and simple, so we study their development more comprehensively. We are interested in how environmental factors might impact different developmental processes, and we recently found that vitamin B12 significantly improves cell migration and embryo survival in a class of developmental mutants.

One of our groundbreaking discoveries occurred using time-lapse imaging. We discovered that cells have a stronger response to a Wnt signal if they received a previous Wnt signal (Zacharias et al. 2015).

I’m thankful to have received a K99/R00 grant to help fund my research. I have been a research biologist for over twenty years and began working at Cincinnati Children’s in 2018. See my current lab website for more about our research and why we study C. elegans at a children’s hospital. https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/research/divisions/d/dev-biology/labs/zacharias/model

BS: Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 2003.

PhD: Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2009.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Ophthalmology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2009-2011.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Genetics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2011-2018.


Embryonic metabolism, morphogenesis, Caenorhabditis elegans

Research Areas

Developmental Biology


pop-1/TCF, ref-2/ZIC and T-box factors regulate the development of anterior cells in the C. elegans embryo. Rumley, JD; Preston, EA; Cook, D; Peng, FL; Zacharias, AL; Wu, L; Jileaeva, I; Murray, JI. Developmental Biology. 2022; 489:34-46.

The anterior Hox gene ceh-13 and elt-1/GATA activate the posterior Hox genes nob-1 and php-3 to specify posterior lineages in the C. elegans embryo. Murray, JI; Preston, E; Crawford, JP; Rumley, JD; Amom, P; Anderson, BD; Sivaramakrishnan, P; Patel, SD; Bennett, BA; Lavon, TD; Hsiao, E; Peng, F; Zacharias, AL. PLoS Genetics. 2022; 18:e1010187.

De Novo-Designed Near-Infrared Nanoaggregates for Super-Resolution Monitoring of Lysosomes in Cells, in Whole Organoids, and in Vivo. Fang, H; Yao, S; Chen, Q; Liu, C; Cai, Y; Geng, S; Bai, Y; Tian, Z; Zacharias, AL; Takebe, T; Chen, Y; Guo, Z; He, W; Diao, J. ACS Nano. 2019; 13:14426-14436.