Image of Hui Zou
Hui Zou Jane Coffin Childs Fellow

Harvard University Medical School

Appointed in 1998

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Image of Ling-Nian Zou
Ling-Nian Zou Jane Coffin Childs Fellow

Harvard University

Appointed in 2010

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I am using mouse embryonic stems cells to understand the sources of cell-to-cell variation during early development, and examining what these variations can tell us about mechanisms regulating early development.

I was first attracted to science by learning that the amazing diversity of life arose from the operation of a simple abstract principle ¬ó natural selection. At university, I turned towards physics, studying how diverse macroscopic physical phenomena (e.g. elasticity and electrodynamics), arising from distinct microscopic laws, can be described on the basis of similar abstract physical concepts. That idea, and the fact that we can extract basic properties of a physical system from apparently random fluctuations, guided my doctoral research.

My current research asks whether these ideas from physics can be useful to the study of biological processes. Consider the variable responses of cells in a culture dish when exposed to the same stimulus. Can we extract information about how cells make decisions by a careful analysis of this variability? Although the simplest cells are far more complex than any physical material, such questions are worth asking. Even if we cannot answer them, the inquiring may point towards some essential characteristics of biological processes.

Image of Beth Zucconi
Beth Zucconi Jane Coffin Childs Fellow

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Appointed in 2014

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Image of Charles S. Zuker
Charles S. Zuker Jane Coffin Childs Fellow

University of California, Berkeley

Appointed in 1984

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Image of Juan C. Zuniga-Pflucker
Juan C. Zuniga-Pflucker Jane Coffin Childs Fellow

National Institutes of Health

Appointed in 1990

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