Joan Heath lab

My laboratory identifies genes and biological pathways that govern intestinal development and colon cancer formation. The overarching premise of our work is that the rapidly developing zebrafish intestinal epithelium is an excellent model for colon tumor growth. We have used ethylnitrosourea (ENU)-mutagenesis to disrupt zebrafish intestinal growth and proliferation and demonstrated that the underlying mutant genes play key roles in information processing pathways such as mRNA splicing and ribosome biogenesis. To study the relevance of these genes and pathways to cancer, we complement our zebrafish research with mouse models and analysis of gene expression in human colon cancer.