Tony Tsai

Principal Investigator

Tony was born and raised in Taiwan. He pursued his dual interests in biomedical science and mathematics by obtaining a BS degree in Mathematics, a MD degree from National Taiwan University, and then a MS degree in Biomathematics from UCLA. At UCLA, he worked with James Liao to engineer synthetic oscillators (bacteria that turns fluorescent proteins on and off like Christmas lights). The experience taught him the stochastic nature of biochemical reactions. He became fascinated by how cells and tissues can channel the noisy molecular interactions into reproducible cell functions and tissue morphology. In graduate school, he worked with Jim Ferrell and Julie Theriot to understand the regulatory circuits that allow precise cell cycle oscillation in frog embryo and efficient chemotaxis in human neutrophil. For his postdoc, he worked with Sean Megason and Carl-Philipp Heisenberg to study how multicellular patterns form robustly in the zebrafish spinal cord. After joining the Developmental Biology department at Washington University in St. Louis, his lab will continue to work at the intersection of developmental biology and physical sciences, with the goal to understand systems level principles of pattern formation and morphogenesis during embryo development. Besides science, Tony enjoys watching baseball and traveling. He is a loyal fan of the Taiwanese Brother Elephants baseball team. And his passion in traveling has taken him to more than 40 countries around the world.

Madeline Ryan

Research Technician

Maddie was born and raised in Scituate- just south of Boston in eastern Massachusetts. Though she was eager to get out of Massachusetts during college, she ended up not too far from home, just on the other side of Massachusetts at Smith College. During her time at Smith, Maddie studied biology and neuroscience. She was introduced to Michael Barresi’s lab by her field hockey teammates. In the Barresi Lab, Maddie fell in love with zebrafish and DevBio while working to characterize the role of a novel ligand, Meteorin, as a possible midline signaling molecule required for early CNS development. Her love of development biology and specific interest in neuronal patterning and morphogen signaling motivated her to join Tony’s lab, after attending Tony’s virtual talk at the Society for Developmental Biology Meeting. As the new research technician, Maddie is looking forward to helping get the lab up and running, and eventually starting on a specific project. Outside of the lab, Maddie enjoys cooking, listening to podcasts and reading!

Chen-Hao Plus Chiu

Exchange PhD Student

Chen-Hao Plus Chiu was born and raised in Taiwan. He obtained his Bachelor and Master degrees in Biotechnology at Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan. He joins the Tsai lab through the exchange PhD program from Kaohsiung Medical University, where he is currently a first-year PhD student in Professor Wangta Liu’s group. In his past research, Plus has used zebrafish as an animal model to answer questions in human diseases, such as xenograft, angiogenesis, cardiac and kidney failure, and neuron degeneration. One of his dreams is to broaden his research vision and life experiences by doing research in the US. He is therefore very excited to join the Tsai lab and looking forward to studying cellular functions during tissue patterning and morphogenesis. In his spare time, Plus loves playing guitar and singing, he also likes outdoor activities such as surfing, skiing, and skating.

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