• Martin Distel, PhD

    Email: martin.distel(at)ccri.at

    Research Focus

    Our research focus is on the generation of pediatric cancer models in zebrafish to better understand tumor initiation and tumor progression on a cellular and molecular level.

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.


Open positions

Diploma / Master’s thesis positions available! Please send your application to martin.distel(at)ccri.at.

Selected Articles

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. 2009 Aug 11;106(32):13365-70.

Kainrath S, Stadler M, Reichhart E, Distel M, Janovjak H.(2017) Green-Light-Induced Inactivation of Receptor Signaling Using Cobalamin-Binding Domains. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2017 Mar 20. doi: 10.1002/anie.201611998.

Kirchberger S, Sturtzel C, Pascoal S and Distel M (2017) Quo natas, Danio?-Recent Progress in Modeling Cancer in Zebrafish. Front. Oncol. 7:186. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2017.00186.

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