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Editor biographies

E. Elizabeth Patton (Editor-in-Chief)

Liz Patton is a Professor and MRC Investigator at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK. Prof. Patton received a BSc Honours degree from King’s College at Dalhousie University, and a PhD from the University of Toronto, working with Mike Tyers to discover how E3 ubiquitin ligases control cell division. Following this, Liz received a Human Frontier Science Programme Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Len Zon at Harvard Medical School, where she developed a zebrafish model for melanoma. Her lab uses chemical genetic approaches in zebrafish to investigate the basis for melanoma biology and drug discovery.

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Areas of expertise: melanocyte development, neural crest, melanoma (skin cancer), chemical genetics approaches, zebrafish.

Elaine R. Mardis (Deputy Editor-in-Chief)

Elaine Mardis graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.S. in zoology and completed her PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1989, also at Oklahoma. Dr. Mardis was a senior research scientist for four years at BioRad Laboratories. She joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in 1993, served as Co-director of the McDonnell Genome Institute since 2002, and was named the Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Distinguished Professor of Medicine in 2014. In September 2016, she became the co-Executive Director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Her research interests focus on the application of next-generation sequencing to characterize cancer genomes and transcriptomes, and to support therapeutic decision-making. Her translational research efforts devise sequencing-based diagnostics, decision-support tools and databases, and the use of genomics to design personalized cancer vaccines.

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Areas of expertise: cancer genomics, immunogenomics, transcriptomes, leukemia, next-generation sequencing, whole-genome sequencing in clinic, complex human disease models such as diabetes.

Monitoring Editors

James Amatruda

James Amatruda received his MD and PhD degrees from Washington University, followed by an Internal Medicine Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a Medical Oncology Fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. From 2005-2019, he was on the faculty in the Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. In 2019, he moved to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he is Head of Basic and Translational Research in the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute and Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. His clinical specialty is the care of children with sarcomas, germ cell tumors, Wilms tumors and other pediatric solid tumors. His laboratory uses primary tumor genomics and zebrafish genetic models to better understand disease mechanisms and to promote new therapeutic approaches for childhood cancers.

Areas of expertise: clinical oncology, paediatric cancer, fusion oncogene sarcomas, microRNAs, zebrafish models.

Steven J. Clapcote

Steve Clapcote is a lecturer in Pharmacology in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leeds, UK. His research uses mouse and human molecular genetics to investigate mechanisms of human neurological diseases, with the aim of identifying new targets for therapeutic intervention. One recent aspect of the group’s work is to look at the function of the Na+,K+-ATPase alpha3 subunit, which has been implicated in a wide range of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He has acted as a reviewer for PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, Molecular Psychiatry, and Human Molecular Genetics.

Areas of expertise: mouse genetics, mouse behaviour, disorders of the CNS (neurological, psychiatric, neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and movement disorders).

Tatsushi Igaki

Tatsushi Igaki is a Professor of the Graduate School of Biostudies at Kyoto University, Japan. His research uses Drosophila genetics to understand the cell-cell communications that govern tissue growth and homeostasis. In particular, his group focuses on the molecular basis of epithelial cell-cell cooperation and competition during normal development and cancer.

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Areas of expertise: Drosophila, cancer, cell competition, cell death, cell-cell communication, senescence.

Monica J. Justice

Monica Justice is Program Head and Senior Scientist at SickKids (The Hospital for Sick Children) in Toronto. Her research aims to merge mouse modeling with clinical genetics to understand the basis for many human diseases, and to use these mouse models to ameliorate disease states.

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Areas of expertise: mouse models of disease, defects in hematopoiesis, lymphoid leukemias and lymphomas, Rett syndrome, forward genetics, sequencing.

Vivian Li

Vivian Li is an Assistant Research Director and senior group leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London, UK. Using mouse models and organoids, her lab investigates the regulation of intestinal homeostasis and cancer with primary focus on the WNT signalling pathway. Her lab has also pioneered the use of organoids to rebuild laboratory-grown human intestinal grafts as an innovative replacement therapy to treat intestinal failure in the future. Dr. Li is on the advisory board of Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology and the American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology.

Areas of expertise: intestinal stem cells, colorectal cancer, mouse models, organoids, tissue engineering.

Karen Liu

Karen Liu is Professor of Genetics and Development in the Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology at King’s College London, UK. Karen received an AB degree from Columbia College. Before graduate school, she worked as a technician in Argiris Efstratiadis’ lab, working on the generation of mouse models. Her PhD studies, with Richard Harland at University of California, Berkeley, focused on neural induction using Xenopus. She then went to Stanford University, where she worked with Mike Longaker and Jerry Crabtree to use chemical genetics approaches to understand palate development.

Areas of expertise: neural crest development, congenital anomalies and cancers (neuroblastoma), cilia, kinases, mouse, frog and human stem cell models.

Owen Sansom

Owen Sansom is Deputy Director of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, UK. His lab investigates two types of epithelial tumor, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, which are the second and fifth most common causes of cancer death worldwide, respectively. Recent sequencing studies have highlighted the common mutational drivers of these cancers and the focus of Dr Sansom’s group is to model these within the mouse to identify novel markers of the disease, as well as targets for therapy. Over the past five years, his work has defined potential new therapeutic targets for colorectal cancers lacking Apc and for resectable pancreatic cancer. Dr Sansom is on the advisory board of the MRC Unit of Toxicology in Leicester, UK and serves on the CRUK Discovery committee.

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Areas of expertise: epithelial cancers, pancreatic, colorectal, mouse models, APC tumor suppressor, intestinal cancer.

David M. Tobin

David Tobin works in the Departments of Molecular Genetics, and Microbiology and Immunology at the Duke University School of Medicine. His research focuses largely on tuberculosis, innate immunity, mycobacterial pathogenesis and the host response to mycobacterial infection. Using a zebrafish model, his laboratory has identified new host susceptibility loci for mycobacterial infection and has translated these findings into human cohorts. Dr Tobin is an editorial board member on PLoS ONE.

Areas of expertise: zebrafish, genetics, immunology, microbiology, virology.


Associate Editors

Sally Dunwoodie

Sally Dunwoodie leads the Embryology Laboratory and the Congenital Heart Disease Research Program at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (Sydney). She is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University for New South Wales. Her research focuses on understanding developmental mechanisms that drive mammalian embryogenesis and on identifying disruptive genetic and environmental factors. With an emphasis on heart and vertebral formation, her research combines patient genome sequencing with mouse models of congenital malformation and study of the impact of gestational stresses such as hypoxia and nutrition. She obtained her PhD at the University of Sydney and undertook postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research (London).

Areas of expertise: Mouse, congenital malformation, NAD, gene-environment interaction, gestational stress, hypoxia, nutrition.

Monkol Lek

Monkol Lek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics at the Yale University School of Medicine. His research is focused on the genetics of rare diseases, including identifying causal genes/variants, disease mechanisms and gene editing.

Areas of expertise: human genetics, genomics, muscle disease, rare disease genetics, computational biology.



Sumana Sanyal

Sumana Sanyal is an Associate Professor at the Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford and Wellcome Trust Investigator. She received her PhD from Cornell University as part of the Cornell-Rockefeller-Sloan Kettering tri-institutional chemical biology program. She did her post-doctoral training with Prof. Hidde Ploegh at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research/MIT. Before starting her current role, she was a Croucher-Foundation-sponsored Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health and School of Biomedical Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong. Her research is centred on the cell biology underlying (+)RNA virus infections and the immune evasion strategies that these viruses have evolved.

Areas of expertise: cell biology, biochemistry, proteomics, flaviviruses, coronaviruses, innate and cellular immunity.


Ian Smyth

Professor Ian Smyth is the Associate Dean for Research and Research Infrastructure in the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University and the Head of the Developmental Nephrology Group at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. His doctoral studies at the University of Queensland focused on understanding the role of the PATCHED genes in human disease. He then undertook postdoctoral work in Edinburgh, Houston and London using forward genetic screens in mice to identify novel genes involved in skin and kidney development and disease. His group’s work focuses on two specific questions: how development of the fetal renal collecting duct system is impacted by genetic mutation and environmental perturbation and how disruption of signaling in these cells in the adult kidney gives rise to cysts in ciliopathy patients.

Areas of expertise: Mouse genetics and disease modelling, kidney development, kidney disease, ciliopathies, polycystic kidney disease.


Eckhard Wolf

Eckhard Wolf studied veterinary medicine at the LMU Munich, Germany (1982-1987). Since 1995, he is Full Professor and Head of the Institute for Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology; since 2003, Director of the Laboratory for Functional Genome Analysis (LAFUGA); and since 2014 Director of the Center for Innovative Medical Models (CiMM), LMU Munich. His lab specializes in the generation, characterization and implementation of genetically engineered pigs as disease models (diabetes mellitus, rare monogenic diseases) and as organ donors for xenotransplantation. He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina, Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Diplomate of the European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ECLAM).

Areas of expertise: Xenotransplantation, translational animal models.

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