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Jeffrey J Essner

  • Professor
  • Genetics, Development and Cell Biology
One of the major focuses of my laboratory is to develop both forward and reverse genetic tools in zebrafish. Currently, we routinely utilize transposon, recombinase, TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 systems for genome engineering. I have broad training in molecular, cell and developmental biology and more than 25 years of experience working with zebrafish, first as a graduate student and later as a postdoctoral researcher and research associate. Since my initial exposure to zebrafish, I have had a passion for the beauty of the optically clear embryos that allow detailed examination of development and the powerful genetic opportunities of the system. As a research associate at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, I was trained in cardiovascular biology with a focus on understanding the mechanisms of left-right asymmetry in development. Since 2002, I have focused my efforts on identifying novel anti-angiogenesis mechanisms. As the Scientific Director at Discovery Genomics, Inc., I led and conducted morpholino-based screens in zebrafish to identify novel genes required for angiogenesis and innate immunity. As the PI of my laboratory at Iowa State University, I have further examined the identified genes using small molecule screens in zebrafish embryos. My laboratory has developed several transgenic models in zebrafish to follow endothelial tube formation in living embryos. More recently, my laboratory has been a part of developing transformative methodologies to mutate and knockout genes in zebrafish that are broadly applicable to other organisms.

Contact Info

636 Science 2
2310 Pammel Dr


  • Postdoc, Scripps Research Institute
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • B.S., University of Iowa