Leonard Zon, who is based at Harvard Medical School, is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in hematology and stem cell biology. His lab uses zebrafish as a model to understand blood cell development and, in recent years, has made inspiring breakthroughs in the treatment of blood diseases and cancer, helping to establish zebrafish as a powerful model for translational research. In this interview, Leonard speaks to Disease Models & Mechanisms Editor-in-Chief, Ross Cagan, about the evolution of his career from developmental biologist to physician-scientist and the stories behind some of his major research accomplishments. He also discusses challenges and opportunities in zebrafish research and provides advice on translating basic research findings to the clinic.

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Photo of Len Zon

The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

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