Xenopus Genome Editing Workshop Faculty Bios

horbMarko Horb, Senior Scientist and Director, National Xenopus Resource (NXR)
Marko received a B.S. in Cell and Structural Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Cell and Developmental Biology in 1998 from Stony Brook University; his graduate thesis focused on the role of Tbox gene in early Xenopus development. Marko served as a postdoc with Jonathan Slack at the University of Bath, UK where he focused on endoderm development in DISCOVERY PROGRAM FACULTY 4 Xenopus. In 2003 Marko started his independent lab at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal where his research focused on cell fate specification in pancreas development. He also taught graduate classes in embryology at McGill University and developed a new upper level undergraduate class, Development, Disease and Regeneration. In 2011, Marko was recruited to the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) to be the first Director of the National Xenopus Resource (NXR), which is an NIH-funded national resource center for Xenopus. He is currently Senior Scientist at the MBL where he runs an independent lab focusing on genome editing and pancreas development in Xenopus, in addition to his duties as Director of the NXR. The NXR also has an educational component and offers several advanced training workshops, including genome editing, bioinformatics and advanced imaging. Throughout his career, Marko has supervised numerous Masters and PhD students, over 20 undergraduate students and several high school students.

jordanDanielle Jordan, Research Assistant
Danielle received her BS in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island and now works for Marko Horb and the National Xenopus Resource, where she uses CRISPR/Cas-9 and other genome editing techniques to generate mutant and transgenic Xenopus frogs. She, through the NXR, is also working in conjunction with Ben Evans of McMaster University to study sex determining genes and how they vary in Xenopus species. During her undergrad, she explored many aspects of the ocean environment, completing internships involving oyster parasitology, lateral line morphology in deep-sea fishes, whale behavior, and coral bleaching.

payneGina Payne, Research Assistant
Gina received her BA in Neuroscience from Barnard College of Columbia University and is currently working as a Research Assistant for the Horb Lab. In the lab, she utilizes the CRISPR-Cas system to engage in genome editing to study pancreas development in Xenopus as well as to create Xenopus mutants for the wider research community. As an undergraduate, she studied psychosocial predictors of gastric bypass surgery as part of the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center.

vargasAnthony Rodríguez-Vargas, Research Assistant, National Xenopus Resource (NXR)
Anthony is a Research Assistant in the Horb Lab/NXR. Currently, he contributes to develop Xenopus as a model for human disease and studies pancreas development. Anthony received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce. During his undergraduate studies, he had various research experiences; including quantifying the feeding behavior of a scavenger marine snail and evaluating the trophicallytransmitted parasites of sockeye salmon.

shaidaniNikko Shaidani, Research Assistant
Nikko received his B.S. and M.S. in Zoology from the University of Maine. Nikko has worked as a research assistant in the Horb lab and the National Xenopus Resource (NXR) for over three years, where he has generated custom knockout mutants using the CRISPRCas9 gene editing system to model human disease for the Xenopus community.

wlizlaMarcin Wlizla, National Xenopus Resource Manager
Marcin received his PhD in Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology from the University of Chicago in 2012. At the University of Chicago Marcin investigated evolutionary conservation of molecular processes involved in establishing the orientation of body axes (front-back, top-bottom, left-right) during early animal embryogenesis, using a marine worm species endogenous to the East Coast of the United States as a main model system. From 2012 to 2015, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, using frogs as a model for study of molecular processes involved in tissue interactions necessary for normal lung development. In November 2015, he took the position of Manager at the NIH funded National Xenopus Resource (NXR) to help improve the day-to-day operations, represent the facility at research conferences, and serve as a main NXR contact for the frog research community.