Rochester, Minnesota




The zebrafish genetics laboratory of Stephen C. Ekker, Ph.D., is focused on one major next step in the post-genomics era: the assignment of genes and gene sets critical in vertebrate patterning and organogenesis.

Dr. Ekker's lab has developed two approaches for the identification of new genes and genetic networks: vertebrate transposons and morpholino antisense oligonucleotides for molecular genetic manipulation of the model vertebrate, the zebrafish. These two reagents, morpholinos and mutagenic transposons, are powerful tools for use in true functional genomics applications in the zebrafish.

Focus areas

  • Morpholino screening. Dr. Ekker's research team is undertaking a morpholino-based screen of the major subset of the genome encoded by co-translationally translocated proteins.
  • Vertebrate transposons. Researchers in Dr. Ekker's lab have also developed gene-breaking transposons as insertional mutagens, a tool that opens the door to an array of important questions such as the genetic basis of nicotine sensitization, a critical process that underlies nicotine addiction.

For more information about Dr. Ekker's research, please visit:

Significance to patient care

The overall aim of Dr. Ekker's research is to identify novel key genetic players critical for clinically relevant processes such as blood vessel, sensory organ and kidney development.


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Primary Appointment

  1. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology


  1. Post-doctoral Fellowship - Biochemical Properties and Biological Activities of the hedgehog Gene Family, Philip A. Beachy, advisor Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  2. Post-doctoral Fellowship - Randall T. Moon, collaborative advisor University of Washington and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  3. Doctor of Philosophy - Molecular Biology and Genetics The Johns Hopkins University
  4. BS - Electrical Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  5. Research Student - Restriction Mapping the Genome of the Archaebacterium Sulfolobus solfataricus; C.R. Woese, advisor University of Illinois

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