Dr. Jeffrey J Essner

Jeff Essner

My research uses zebrafish to model events that are critical to the progression of cancer and to identify genes that are required for these processes. Central to my research program is an effort to understand the genes that are required for tumor angiogenesis. Angiogenesis represents a specialized type of vascularization whereby new vessels are formed by the budding of endothelial cells from existing vessels. This allows the tumor to receive nourishment for further growth and provides a route for cancer cells to metastasize to other parts of the body. During angiogenesis, endothelial cells must first bud from existing vessels by passing through the vessel basement membrane in a manner similar to invasive cancer cells. By modeling this in zebrafish, we have identified several new genes involved in angiogenesis.

Area of Expertise: 
genetics of tumor angiogenesis
zebrafish modeling
B.S., Biology, University of Iowa, 1987
Ph.D., Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics, University of Minnesota, 1996