Dr. Alon Kahana is an oculoplastic surgeon and an Associate Professor of Eye Plastic and Orbital Surgery in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Kellogg Eye Center. He is also a Member of the Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute. He received his MD and PhD in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and pursued residency and fellowship training at the University of Wisconsin.
Our research utilizes Zebrafish as a model to study the overlap among embryogenesis, tissue regeneration and cancer. An adult zebrafish model of muscle injury revealed that "terminally-differentiated, post-mitotic" myocytes are capable of robust dedifferentiation. A transcriptome analysis is revealing intriguing similarities between zebrafish cellular reprogramming and cancer stem cells. Our lab is now focused on characterizing the molecular mechanisms that drive cellular reprogramming and dedifferentiation, with the hope of developing insights into regenerative therapies and the biology and cancer stem cells.
Bohnsack, B.L., Gallina, D.D., Thompson, H., Kasprick, D., Lucarelli, M.J., Dootz, G., Nelson, C., McGonnell, I.M., Kahana, A. Development of extraocular muscles require early signals from periocular neural crest and the developing eye, revealing an important developmental window. Archives of Ophthalmology 2011; 129:1030-41. PMID:21482859. (Accompanying editorial.)
Kish, P.E., Bohnsack, B.L., Gallina, D.D., Kasprick, D.S., Kahana, A. The eye as an organizer of craniofacial development. Genesis 2011; 49:222-230. PMID:21309065.
Bohnsack, B.L., Gallina, D.D., Kahana, A. Phenothiourea Sensitizes Zebrafish Cranial Neural Crest and Extraocular Muscle Development to Changes in Retinoic Acid and IGF Signaling. PLoS One 2011;6:e22991. PMCID: PMC3158757
Kasprick, D.S., Kish, P.E., Junttila, T.L., Ward, L.A., Bohnsack, B.L., Kahana, A. Microanatomy of Adult Zebrafish Extraocular Muscles Reveals Significant Morphologic Similarities and Differences with Human Extraocular Muscles. PLoS One, 2011;6:e27095. PMCID: PMC3223174
Bohnsack, B.L., Kasprick, D.S., Kish, P.E., Goldman, D., Kahana, A. A zebrafish model of Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome reveals that pitx2 regulation by retinoic acid is essential for ocular morphogeneis and craniofacial development. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2012 Jan 3;53(1):7-22. Print 2012 Jan. PMID: 22125274
Bohnsack, B.L., Kahana, A. Thyroid hormone and retinoic acid interact to regulate zebrafish craniofacial neural crest development. Developmental Biology, 2013; 373(2):300-9. PMID: 23165295, PMCID: PMC3534885.
Grzegorski, S.J., Chiari, E., Robbins, A., Kish, P.E., Kahana, A. Natural variability of Kozak sequences correlates with function in a zebrafish model. PLoS One 2014; 9:e108475. PMID: 25248153, PMCID: PMC4172775.
Saera-Vila, A., Kasprick, D.S., Chiari, E.F., Grzegorski, S.J., Junttila, T.L., Louie, K.W., Kish, P.E., Kahana, A. Myocyte Dedifferentiation Drives Adult Extraocular Muscle Regeneration in Zebrafish. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, 2015; 56(8):4977-93. PMID: 26230763, PMCID: PMC4525682.