Biosciences Graduate Program

Diane C. Slusarski, BA, BS, BA, PhD


Professor of Biology

Contact Information

Office: 246A BB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-229

Web: More About Dr. Slusarski - Related Websites and Resources


BA, Honors Biology, University of Illinois-Urbana
BS, Biochemistry, University of Illinois-Urbana
PhD, Biochemistry, Molecular/Cell Biology, Northwestern University

Post Doctorate, Biology, Johns Hopkins University

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

Development and Disease studies in Zebrafish Progression from egg to embryo requires a dynamic interaction of signal transduction networks. We integrate in vivo image analysis coupled with molecular-genetic tools to elucidate the role of signaling networks critical in developmental processes and altered in human disease. Manipulation of Calcium release induces dramatic alteration to body axis patterning and organogenesis, including heart and vasculogenesis in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). We have defined a class of secreted signaling ligands, called Wnts, which modulate calcium release. Wnts have key roles in development and disease and we are investigating the mechanisms by which the Wnt/calcium class mediates its biological effect on the developing embryo. Our developmental studies set the stage for investigations into vascular defects and tumor formation upon Wnt mis-regulation. Due to remarkable conservation of developmental processes and mechanisms among vertebrates, we developed the zebrafish as a model for human disease including Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS). We have defined cardinal BBS features in zebrafish and currently, we are exploring genetic interactions, testing candidate genes and dissecting the molecular mechanisms of BBS function. In addition, we utilize the zebrafish in small molecule screens and retinal degeneration.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48