We use zebrafish (danio rerio) to model pediatric cancers (leukemia and solid tumors) and rare cancer predisposition syndromes. Using cutting-edge genetic modeling approaches combined with state of the art in vivo imaging we aim to dissect the molecular mechanisms, which govern tumor onset and tumor progression. Our genetic models are also employed in our lab for drug screening to identify potential therapeutic strategies.

We further use our models to better understand the role of the innate immune system at early tumor initiating stages.

In an alternative modeling approach, we explore the use of patient derived xenograft models in zebrafish (PDXz) to predict disease progression and to evaluate therapeutic compounds.

Selected Articles

Butko E, Distel M, Pouget C, Weijts B, Kobayashi I, Ng K, Mosimann C, Poulain FE, McPherson A, Ni CW, Stachura DL, Del Cid N, Espin-Palazon R, Lawson ND, Dorsky R, Clements WK, Traver D (2015) Gata2b is a restricted early regulator of hemogenic endothelium in the zebrafish embryo. Development 142: 1050-1061

Alghisi E, Distel M , Malagola M, Anelli V, Santoriello C, Herwig L, Krudewig A, Henkel CV, Russo D, Mione MC. (2013) Targeting oncogene expression to endothelial cells induces proliferation of the myelo-erythroid lineage by repressing the Notch pathway. Leukemia 2229-41. doi: 10.1038/leu.2013.132. Epub 2013 Apr 29

Walker S.L., Ariga J., Mathias J.R., Coothankandaswamy V., Xie X., Distel M., Köster R.W., Parsons M.J., Bhalla K.N., Saxena M.T., Mumm J.S. (2012) Automated reporter quantification in vivo: high-throughput screening method for reporter-based assays in zebrafish. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29916

Distel M., Hocking, J.C., Köster R.W. (2011) In vivo cell biology using Gal4 mediated multicolour subcellular labelling in zebrafish. Communicative and Integrative Biology Vol 4, Issue 3 

Distel, M. Hocking, J., Volkmann, K., Köster R.W. (2010). The centrosome neither persistently leads migration nor determines the site of axonogenesis in migrating neurons in vivo. Journal of Cell Biology 191(4):875-90.

Distel, M., Wullimann M., Köster R.W. (2009). Optimized Gal4 genetics for permanent gene expression mapping in zebrafish. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 106(32):13365-70.

Distel. M., Köster, R.W. (2007). In vivo Time-lapse imaging of zebrafish embryonic developmentCSH Protocols. 2007; doi:10.1101/pdb.prot4816