Our research focuses on two areas: Vertebrate Development and Behavior. We mostly use zebrafish as a model system because genetic, genomic and imaging approaches can be combined to study complex behaviors and developmental processes in a vertebrate. But we are also beginning to use other fish (killifish, cavefish, loach, cichlids) and mouse as model systems. We are also committed to training the next generation of leaders in biomedical research.
During development, cells acquire specialized fates and migrate to specific positions to form the embryo and generate functional organs. Our goal is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this process. How do signals move through fields of cells and elicit concentration dependent effects? How do cells differentiate into specialized cell types? How do cells arrive at the right place at the right time? And how can embryogenesis be both robust and flexible?
To address these questions, we use genetic, genomic, biophysical and in vivo imaging approaches in zebrafish. Most recently, we have developed single-cell technologies to reconstruct the lineage and specification trajectories of thousands of cells. We are applying these methods to construct lineage trees that capture the major decisions made by cells as they differentiate, with the long-term goal of understanding the rules and statistics of development.
Single-cell reconstruction of developmental trajectories during zebrafish embryogenesis.
Farrell JA, Wang Y, Riesenfeld SJ, Shekhar K, Regev A, Schier AF.
Science. 2018 Apr 26
Simultaneous single-cell profiling of lineages and cell types in the vertebrate brain
Raj B, Wagner DE, McKenna A, Pandey S, Klein AM, Shendure J, Gagnon JA, Schier AF.
Nat Biotechnol. 2018 Mar 28
Nodal patterning without Lefty inhibitory feedback is functional but fragile.
Rogers KW, Lord ND, Gagnon JA, Pauli A, Zimmerman S, Aksel DC, Reyon D, Tsai SQ, Joung JK, Schier AF.
Elife. 2017 Dec 7
Vg1-Nodal heterodimers are the endogenous inducers of mesendoderm.
Montague TG, Schier AF.
Elife. 2017 Nov 15
Toddler signaling regulates mesodermal cell migration downstream of Nodal signaling.
Norris ML, Pauli A, Gagnon JA, Lord ND, Rogers KW, Mosimann C, Zon LI, Schier AF.
Elife. 2017 Nov 9
Whole organism lineage tracing by combinatorial and cumulative genome editing.
McKenna A, Findlay GM, Gagnon JA, Horwitz MS, Schier AF, Shendure J.
Science. 2016 May 26
Toddler: an embryonic signal that promotes cell movement via Apelin receptors.
Pauli A, Norris ML, Valen E, Chew GL, Gagnon JA, Zimmerman S, Mitchell A, Ma J, Dubrulle J, Reyon D, Tsai SQ, Joung JK, Saghatelian A, Schier AF
Science 2014 Feb 14
Sleep, wakefulness and other behaviors
We spend a third of our life asleep but the mechanisms that control sleep and waking states remain largely elusive. We seek to identify molecules and neurons that regulate sleep and the neuropeptides that promote sleep and wakefulness. What are the neurons that detect sleep deprivation and regulate recovery sleep? What is the role of genes that have been implicated in human sleep disorders? To address these questions and to study the basis of additional behaviors, we use genetic, genomic, and imaging approaches in fish and mouse.
A Brain-wide Circuit Model of Heat-Evoked Swimming Behavior in Larval Zebrafish.
Haesemeyer M, Robson DN, Li JM, Schier AF, Engert F.
Neuron. 2018 May 16
Comprehensive Identification and Spatial Mapping of Habenular Neuronal Types Using Single-Cell RNA-Seq.
Pandey S, Shekhar K, Regev A, Schier AF.
Curr Biol. 2018 Mar 9
Gaze-stabilizing central vestibular neurons project asymmetrically to extraocular motoneuron pools.
Schoppik D, Bianco IH, Prober DA, Douglass AD, Robson DN, Li JMB, Greenwood JSF, Soucy E, Engert F, Schier AF.
J Neurosci. 2017 Sep 2
Chiu CN, Rihel J, Lee DA, Singh C, Mosser EA, Chen S, Sapin V, Pham U, Engle J, Niles BJ, Montz CJ, Chakravarthy S, Zimmerman S, Salehi-Ashtiani K, Vidal M, Schier AF, Prober DA.
Neuron. 2016 Feb 17
Whole-brain activity mapping onto a zebrafish brain atlas.
Randlett O, Wee CL, Naumann EA, Nnaemeka O, Schoppik D, Fitzgerald JE, Portugues R, Lacoste AM, Riegler C, Engert F, Schier AF.
Nat Methods. 2015 Nov
A convergent and essential interneuron pathway for Mauthner-cell-mediated escapes.
Lacoste AM, Schoppik D, Robson DN, Haesemeyer M, Portugues R, Li JM, Randlett O, Wee CL, Engert F, Schier AF.
Curr Biol. 2015 May 6
Neuropeptidergic control of sleep and wakefulness.
Richter C, Woods IG, Schier AF
Annu Rev Neurosci. 2014 Jul
Neuropeptidergic signaling partitions arousal behaviors in zebrafish.
Woods IG1, Schoppik D, Shi VJ, Zimmerman S, Coleman HA, Greenwood J, Soucy ER, Schier AF
J Neurosci. 2014 Feb 26
Training the next generation of scientists
In addition to performing creative and rigorous research, we are committed to training the next generation of leaders in biomedicine. Graduate students are coached to become independent scientists, and postdoctoral fellows are mentored to develop the skills and projects that provide the foundations for their own labs. Following their training in the Schier lab, 16 of 20 graduate students went on to postdoctoral research positions, and 21 of 25 postdocs started their own labs at leading institutions such as Princeton, Caltech, UCLA, UCSD, NYU School of Medicine, University of Toronto, MPI Dresden, MPI Tuebingen, IMP Vienna, University of Utah, University College London, University of Cambridge and Yale. Please contact Alex if you are interested in joining us (firstname.lastname@example.org).