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Jeremy Reiter: Hunting for Cilia

By Cristina Luiggi Jeremy Reiter: Hunting for Cilia Michael Winokur Photography Assistant professor of biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco. Age: 39 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 he

By | January 1, 2011

Jeremy Reiter: Hunting for Cilia

Michael Winokur Photography

Assistant professor of biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco.
Age: 39

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.

Literature Cited

1. K.C. Corbit et al., “Vertebrate Smoothened functions at the primary cilium,” Nature, 437:1018-21, 2005. (Cited 281 times) Free F1000 Evaluation
2. J.F. Reiter, W.C. Skarnes, “Tectonic, a novel regulator of the Hedgehog pathway required for both activation and inhibition,” Genes Dev, 20:22-27, 2006. (Cited 26 times)
3. S.Y. Wong et al., “Primary cilia can both mediate and suppress Hedgehog pathway-dependent tumorigenesis,” Nat Med, 100:181-90, 2009. (Cited 34 times) Free F1000 Evaluation
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