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University of Basel

26 January 2022

Alex Schier awarded distinction of AAAS Fellow

Prof. Dr. Alexander Schier in front of the Biozentrum
Prof. Dr. Alexander Schier. (Image: University of Basel, Biozentrum)

Prof. Alex Schier from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. With this election, the AAAS honors Schier’s scientific contributions in the field of developmental biology.

The cell and developmental biologist Prof. Alex Schier, from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, has been recognized for his work on embryonic development, in particular, for establishing and applying genetic and genomic methods to define the logic governing cell fate diversification during embryogenesis. The total of 564 newly elected AAAS fellows will be celebrated later this year during an in-person gathering when it is feasible from a public health and safety perspective.

Alex Schier’s team studies how single immature embryonic cells develop into a wide variety of cell types with diverse functions, for instance to heart or liver cells. The zebrafish serves as a model organism for their work. The scientists have discovered genes and signaling pathways that control development and established novel approaches to analyze cellular lineage trees and to create a genetic map for individual cells, from the immature to the specialized cell.

In this way, they have been able to reconstruct the developmental trajectories for thousands of cells and elucidate how cells find their specific identity. Schier’s research provides comprehensive insights into cell differentiation and thus into the development of functional organs and entire organisms. His research work is an important milestone in understanding the molecular basis of embryogenesis.

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