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Zorn Lab

Research Interests

Endoderm and Liver development

Research Area

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 endoderm. 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.

Current Members

Zorn, Aaron M (Principal Investigator/Director)
Edwards, Nicole (Post-doc)
Luz Madrigal, Agustin (Post-doc)
Rankin, Scott A. (Lab Manager)
Mukherjee, Shreyasi (Graduate Student)
Ngo, Vy (Undergraduate Student)
James-Zorn, Christina (Programmer/Bioinformatician)
Ly, Ngoc (Programmer/Bioinformatician)
Nenni, Mardi J. (Programmer/Bioinformatician)
Ponferrada, Virgilio G. (Programmer/Bioinformatician)


Kormish, Jay (Post-doc)
Mancini, Pamela (Post-doc)
Sinner, Debora I (Post-doc)
Wlizla, Marcin (Post-doc)
Costa, Ricardo MB (Graduate Student)
Han, Lu (Graduate Student)
Louza, Mariana (Graduate Student)
Nasr, Talia (Graduate Student)
Zhang, Zheng (Graduate Student)
Bayyari, Nadia M (Undergraduate Student)
Burns, Kevin A. (Programmer/Bioinformatician)
Chaturvedi, Praneet (Programmer/Bioinformatician)
Fortriede, Joshua D (Programmer/Bioinformatician)

Additional Information

The Zorn lab also includes the curation team for Xenbase, the Xenopus model organism database. Xenbase is a comprehensive database that provides a portal to inter-related divers biological and genomic data related to Xenopus research all of which is highly integrated with other model organism databases and international resources such as NCBI. Animal models such as Xenopus provide powerful experimental tools to test gene function and interrogate biological pathways. Comparative functional genomics between humans and model organisms has led to a wealth of discoveries, and it is clear that this will continue to play an important role in unlocking the potential of the genome for human health. In this post-genomic era highly annotated and easily accessible data are increasingly essential for researchers to integrate vast amounts of sequence, expression and functional data into a meaningful biological synthesis. Xenbase serves this function and here at Cincinnati Children’s we house the Xenbase curation team in collaboration with the Xenbase development team at the University of Calgary in Canada. At Xenbase you will find everything Xenopus. You may search for genes, expression patterns, antibodies, protocols, anatomy items and development stages or browse the genome. You can even search for homologous genes in humans that are linked to diseases. You may also search books and papers as well as find people, organizations, events and job postings of interest to the Xenopus community. We also offer FTP resources to download. Visit Xenbase.


Institution: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Division of Developmental Biology
Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM)
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Research Foundation
Cincinnati, Ohio

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