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University of Basel

Alex Schier Appointed New Director of the Biozentrum

As of 2018, Prof. Dr. Alexander F. Schier will be the new Director of the University of Basel’s Biozentrum. The University Council has appointed the Harvard researcher as Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Also appointed to the Biozentrum as Professor for Cell and Developmental Biology was Prof. Dr. Susan Mango.

26 October 2017

Since 2005, Alexander F. Schier has been a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge (USA). He has won several academic awards, among them the Merit Award and the Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health. He is also known as one of the leading scientists researching vertebrate development and behavior. Schier will succeed Prof. Dr. Erich Nigg and will assume his position as Director of the Biozentrum on February 1, 2018.

Born in 1964 in Basel and raised in Birsfelden and Oberwil, he studied cell biology at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, where he earned his doctorate in 1992 under Prof. Dr. Walter J. Gehring.

As a postdoc, he conducted research at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University (USA). In 1996, he was recruited as Assistant Professor to the Developmental Genetics Program in the Skirball Institute and the Department for Cell Biology of the New York University School of Medicine, until he returned as Professor to Harvard University in 2005. There, he was Head of the Department for Molecular and Cell Biology from 2014 until 2017.

Schier is internationally renowned for his pioneering research on the development of vertebrates, using zebrafish as a model organism. During his time as a postdoc, he and his colleagues conducted the first extensive genetic study of vertebrate development. His lab made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the molecular basis of vertebrate embryogenesis. In addition to developmental biology, Schier is also interested in the mechanisms of sleep and other behaviors.

Specialist in developmental biology

Also appointed to the Biozentrum of the University of Basel was Prof. Dr. Susan Mango. She will start her new position as Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology.

Currently, she is a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge (USA), where she has been working since 2009 and is leading a research group. She is known as a leading scientist in the field of developmental biology and has received several prestigious research awards, such as the Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health and a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Susan Mango was born as a US citizen in 1961 in New York City and after her undergraduate studies at Harvard University, she earned her doctorate at Princeton University. As a postdoc, she conducted research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Howard Hughes Medical Institute and then became H.A. and Edna Benning Professor of Oncological Sciences at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

In her work, she studies the mechanisms of organ formation by using the gut of the roundworm C. elegans as a model system. Her research group combines approaches of molecular genetics, genomics, and cell biology to study organogenesis in all its aspects.

Further information

Matthias Geering, University of Basel, Media Spokesperson, Tel. +41 61 207 35 75, cell: +41 79 269 70 71, email: matthias.geering@unibas.ch


Print-quality images for this press release are available in the media database.

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