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Department of Pediatrics Newsletter Archive
Stem cell biology expert Zon set for Discovery Lecture
January 7, 2011

Leonard Zon, M.D., a pioneer in the fields of stem cell biology and cancer genetics, will deliver the next Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Jan. 13. His lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

Zon is the Grousbeck Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, founder and director of the Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

His current research focuses on two areas: identifying the genes that direct stem cells to develop into more specialized blood or organ cells; and developing chemical or genetic suppressors to cure cancers and other devastating diseases.

Zon pioneered development of the zebrafish embryo as a model for studying hematopoiesis, the formation of blood cells, and helped launch the Trans-NIH Zebrafish Genome Initiative at Boston Children's Hospital.

Over the years, he and his colleagues have collected more than 30 zebrafish mutations that affect blood development and which have improved understanding of human disorders such as iron overload. They are using zebrafish models of cancer to search for agents that can suppress cancer growth.

Zon has been a leader in developing guidelines for research involving human embryonic stem cells. He is a founder and former president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, and chairs the executive committee of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

A past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, he also is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For a schedule of the Discovery Lecture series and video of previous lectures, go to

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