BBS Faculty Member - Leonard Zon

Leonard Zon

Grousbeck Professor of Pediatrics

Boston Children's Hospital / HHMI
Karp Research Building, 7th Floor , Room 7211
300 Longwood Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-919-2069
Fax: 617-730-0222
Lab Members: 19 postdoctoral fellows, 6 graduate students
Visit my lab page here.

The laboratory focuses on the developmental biology of hematopoiesis and cancer. We have collected over 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Some of the mutants represent excellent animal models of human disease. We also have undertaken chemical genetic approach to blood development and have found that prostaglandins upregulates blood stem cells. This has led to a clinical trial to improve engraftment for patients receiving cord blood transplants. We recently developed suppressor screening genetics and found that transcriptional elongation regulates blood cell fate.

The laboratory has also developed zebrafish models of cancer. We have generated a melanoma model in the zebrafish system using transgenics. Transgenic fish get nevi, and in a combination with a p53 mutant fish develop melanomas. We recently found a histone methyltransferase that can accelerate melanoma, and discovered a small molecule that blocks transcription elongation and suppresses melanoma growth.

Last Update: 8/5/2015


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Bai X, Kim J, Yang Z, Jurynec M, Lee J, LeBlanc J, Sessa A, Jiang H, Grunwald DJ, Lin S, Orkin SH, Zon LI. TIF1 controls erythroid cell fate by regulating transcriptional elongation. Cell, 2010 Jul 9;142(1):133-143. (PMC code pending)

Ceol CJ, Houvras Y, Jane-Valbuena J, Bilodeau S, Orlando DA, Battisti V, Fritsch L, Lin WM, Hollmann TJ, Ferre F, Bourque C, Burke C, Turner L, Uong A, Johnson LA, Beroukhim R, Mermel CH, Loda M, Slimane A-S-A, Garraway L, Young RA, and
Zon LI. The histone methyltransferase SETDB1 is currently amplified in melanoma and accelerates its onset. Nature, 2011, Mar 24:471, 513-517.

White RM, Cech J, Ratanasirintrawoot S, Lin CY, Rahls PB, Burke CJ, Langdon E, Tomlinson ML, Mosher J, Kaufman C, Chen F, Long HK, Kramer M, Datta S, Neuberg D, Granter S, Young RA, Morrison S, Wheeler GN, and
Zon LI. DHODH modulates transcriptional elongation in the neural crest and melanoma. Nature. 2011, Mar 24:471, 518-522.

Trompouki E*, Bowman TV*, Lawton LN, Fan ZP, Wu D-C, DiBiase A, Martin CS, Cech JN, Sessa AK, Leblanc JL, Li P, Durand E, Mosimann C, Heffner GC, Daley GQ, Paulson RF, Young RA and
Zon LI. Lineage regulators direct BMP and Wnt pathways to cell-specific programs during differentiation and regeneration. Cell, 2011, October 28:147 (3);577-589. PMCID: PMC3219441

A zebrafish embryo culture system defines factors that promote vertebrate myogenesis across species. Xu C, Tabebordbar M, Iovino S, Ciarlo C, Liu J, Castiglioni A, Price E, Liu M, Barton ER, Kahn CR, Wagers AJ,
Zon LI. Cell. 2013 Nov 7;155(4):909-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ell.2013.10.023. PMID:24209627 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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