Raphael Kopan, PhD, will
join Cincinnati Children’s as Director of the Division of Developmental Biology
Kopan’s primary research
interest is the Notch1 protein, instrumental in guiding the development of
embryonic cells into a variety of cell types, organs and tissues. Studying the
effects of Notch1 disruption has proved challenging because of the protein’s
essential role in embryonic development. Kopan’s team solved the problem by
engineering a mouse in which the Notch1 gene remains present throughout
embryogenesis but becomes conditionally knocked out in adults.
One of their recent
findings, reported in the Journal of
Clinical Investigation, suggests that inactivating Notch1 in mice may cause
abnormal proliferation of endothelial tissue, leading to vascular tumors,
particularly in the liver.
Kopan has been the Wolff
Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and of Medicine at Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he has worked since 1994. He
earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1981 and a master’s degree in zoology
in 1984, both from Tel Aviv University.
Following a stint in the
Israeli Defense Force, Kopan received his doctorate in molecular genetics and cell biology at
the University of Chicago and completed post-doctoral training at the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.