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|Chi-Bin Chien award 2018: Dr Lindsey Barske|
The Chi-Bin Chien Award rewards an outstanding graduate student, postdoc or recent faculty appointee, from any country, who has made signficant contributions to the field of zebrafish research and has exhibited the generosity and openness that characterised and motivated Chi-Bin. The 2018 recipient, chosen from a strong field of nominees, is Dr Lindsey Barske, who has demonstrated all the qualities of scientific creativity, productivity and community spirit that we remember so well in Chi-Bin.
Lindsey studied for a PhD in Cell Biology with Blanche Capel at Duke University. This was a hugely successful time, during which she uncovered genetic and molecular mechanisms controlling granulosa cell precursors in mouse and turtle ovaries. Before starting her PhD, Lindsey had spent a year in the Sagasti lab working with zebrafish, and she returned to this model system for her postdoc in 2012, joining Gage Crump’s lab at the University of Southern California. Here, her research projects have focused on signaling pathways (Notch, Endothelin and BMP) and transcription factors that restrict differentiation of skeletal progenitor cells, leading to correct formation and asymmetry of developing facial skeleton. These studies include recent exciting work on the role of Nr2f nuclear receptors and an unusual homeotic transformation of the jaw (Barske et al., Dev. Cell. 2018; Barske et al., PLoS Gen. 2016).
During her time as a postdoc, Lindsey has developed enormous expertise in reverse genetics, having engineered and characterised nearly thirty mutant zebrafish lines. She has set out not only to do excellent science in her own area, but has also been insightful in looking out for additional interesting phenotypes in the mutant lines she has generated, and exploiting these by establishing links with other labs around the world. In this way, she has become involved in diverse projects that have yielded collaborative publications on the development of several other organ systems, including the heart, liver, pancreas and haematopoietic stem cells.
At the recent International Zebrafish Conference at Madison, Lindsey was invited to give a presentation on her recent research. One of her referees had commented that she ‘always gives polished and fascinating talks’, and so we knew we were in for a treat. Lindsey did not disappoint: she delivered an elegant seminar on her recent work on development and evolution of the gill-covering apparatus in vertebrates, detailing the role of POU-domain transcription factors in forming the different types of gill coverings found in cartilaginous and bony fish.
Lindsey’s love of scientific discovery and commitment to the scientific community—qualities so characteristic of Chi-Bin—come across in her writing and presentations, and she has also been busy in transmitting her skills, knowledge and approach to the next generation. Throughout her career, Lindsey has mentored many high school, undergraduate and graduate students, and has been generous with her time and enthusiasm for many teaching and outreach projects.
Lindsey recently gained a Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH to continue her work on development of the facial skeleton in zebrafish and mice. This is an area of important clinical relevance, with the potential to yield insights into mechanisms underlying craniofacial birth defects. For more information, see:
The IZFS congratulates Lindsey on both her Chi-Bin Chien and NIH awards, and wishes her every success in her continuing career.
Contribution made by Tanya Whitfield