BBS Faculty Member - Alexander Schier

Alexander Schier

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Broad Institute/Center for Brain Science/Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Harvard University
16 Divinity Avenue, Room 1027
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-496-4835
Fax: 617-495-9300
Visit my lab page here.

Our research focuses on two areas: the molecular basis of embryogenesis and the neural regulation of sleep and wakefulness. We mainly use zebrafish as a model system, because genetic and imaging approaches can be combined to study complex behaviors and developmental processes in a vertebrate.

(i) vertebrate embryogenesis - how do signals, chromatin and non-coding RNAs influence the fate and movement of cells? The vertebrate body plan is set up during early embryogenesis, when a ball of undifferentiated, totipotent cells is transformed into an embryo. We wish to understand how non-coding RNAs, chromatin modifications and cell signaling regulate this process.

(ii) sleep and wakefulness - what are the genes and circuits that regulate sleep? As many as 10% of Americans suffer chronic sleep disturbances, but the genetic and cellular mechanisms that control sleep and wake states remain largely elusive. We use genetic screens to find molecules that modulate sleep and optogenetics to define the circuits that regulate sleep.

Last Update: 3/30/2015


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Giraldez, A.J., Mishima, Y., Rihel, J., Grocock, R.J., Van Dongen, S., Inoue, K., Enright, A.J. and Schier, A.F. (2006). Zebrafish miR-430 promotes deadenylation and clearance of maternal mRNAs. Science 312, 75-79.

Choi, W.-Y., Giraldez, A.J. and Schier, A.F. (2007). Target Protectors reveal dampening and balancing of Nodal agonist and antagonist by miR-430. Science 318, 271-274.

Rihel, J., Prober, D., Arvanites, A., Lam, K., Zimmerman, S., Jang, S., Haggarty, S.J., Kokel, D., Rubin, L.L., Peterson, R. T. and Schier, A.F. (2010). Behavioral profiling links drugs to biological targets and the regulation of rest/wake states. Science 15, 348-51

Vastenhouw, N.L., Zhang, Y., Woods, I.G., Imam, F., Regev, A., Liu, X.S., Rinn, J., and Schier, A.F. (2010). Chromatin signature of embryonic pluripotency is established during genome activation. Nature 464, 922-6.

Pauli, A., Valen, E., Lin, M.F., Garber, M., Vastenhouw, N.L., Levin, J.Z., Fan, L., Sandelin, A., Rinn, J.L., Regev, A., and Schier, A.F. (2012) Systematic identification of long noncoding RNAs expressed during zebrafish embryogenesis. Genome Research 22, 577-91.

Müller, P., Rogers, K.W., Jordan, B.M., Lee, J.S., Robson, D., Ramanathan, S., and Schier, A.F. (2012). Differential diffusivity of Nodal and Lefty underlies a reaction-diffusion patterning system. Science 336, 721-4.

Pauli, A., Norris, M.L., Valen, E., Chew, G.-L., Gagnon, J.A., Zimmerman, S., Mitchell, A., Ma, J., Dubrulle, J., Reyon, D., Tsai, S.Q., Joung, J.K., Saghatelian, A., and Schier, A.F. (2014). Toddler: an embryonic signal that promotes cell movement via Apelin receptors. Science 343, 1248636

Woods, I.G., Schoppik, D., Shi, V.J., Zimmerman, S., Coleman, H.A., Greenwood, J., Soucy, E.R., and Schier, A.F. (2014) Neuropeptidergic signaling partitions arousal behaviors in zebrafish. Journal of Neuroscience 34, 3142-60

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