Jeremy Reiter: Hunting for Cilia
Assistant professor of biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco.
In late summer of 2005, budding developmental biologist 1 and an offer for tenure at UCSF quickly followed.
RESULTS: Reiter’s passion for research was ignited during the PhD half of his MD/PhD training at UCSF, when he worked in Didier Stainier’s lab studying zebrafish heart and gut development. “Watching vertebrate development is such a beautiful process,” Reiter says. However, it was during his short-lived postdoc at UC, Berkeley that he became interested in cilia. Working with mice, he discovered a novel protein called tectonic which, when mutated, caused embryonic development to go haywire, disrupting both Hedgehog signaling and primary cilia formation.2 More recently his lab was the first to demonstrate that some human cancer cells are ciliated and that the cilium itself plays a role in tumorigenesis.3
DISCUSSION: Reiter’s PhD advisor Stainier describes him as fearless, creative, energetic, and terrific at training the younger generation of scientists. It was this enthusiasm that made Singla join Reiter’s lab as a first-year PhD student in 2003, despite how risky it was choosing a mentor who didn’t have a permanent position at UCSF. “It definitely worked out really well for me,” she says.
While Reiter continues to push the boundaries of what’s known about cilia’s role in health and disease, he is raising his two small children and becoming as proficient at playing the trombone as he is with the French horn.