Jennifer Lanni

Assistant Professor in Biology




Biochemistry, Biology


Mars 2131

(508) 286-3954



Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.A., Amherst College

Research Interests

I am interested in how size is regulated in appendages such as limbs or fins.   My research uses the zebrafish, a small vertebrate which shares many of its genes and proteins with humans.  Thus, by studying size regulation in zebrafish, I may gain insight into similar pathways in other vertebrate organisms.

How do appendages ”know” when to stop growing?  In adult wild type zebrafish (Danio rerio), the relative proportion of fin length to that of the body is constant.  This information regarding proportion is retained even following fin regeneration.  Several zebrafish mutants, however, display longer fins as a dominant Mendelian trait.  I am studying the longfinned mutant Schleierschwanz (Schw) to try to understand how proportional growth is regulated.  Work by my research students has found that Schw mutant fish have an altered vascular pattern in their fins.  We have studied this by crossing Schw fish to a transgenic strain of zebrafish expressing green fluorescent protein in the vasculature, which allows us to visualize arteries and veins in the fins of living fish.  Our work indicates that greater blood flow to the fins is present in longfinned fish.  Current work is focused on characterizing the molecular cause of the Schw allele and addressing if changes in vascular tone are sufficient to change appendage size in the zebrafish.

Teaching Interests

I teach Biochemistry in the fall semester. In the spring, I teach Introductory Biology and Biochemistry Senior Seminar. I am the co-coordinator for the Biochemistry program, along with Professor Pastra-Landis in the Chemistry Department.

Other Interests

I spend as much time as possible with my husband and three children.  We enjoy travel, especially visiting the National Parks.  I also enjoy reading, yoga, and cooking.


Kunduru, H., Lanni, J., Shields, J., Andreeva, V., Fraher, D., and Yelick, P. (2012) Characterizing the phenotype of the novel zebrafish mutant 152N [abstract]. J. Dent Res91(Spec Iss A): 1553.

Lanni, J.S., and Jacks, T. (1998).  Characterization of the p53-dependent post-mitotic checkpoint following spindle disruption.  Mol. Cell. Biol. 18: 1055-1064.

Lanni, J.S., Lowe, S.W., Licitra, E.J., Liu, J.O., and Jacks, T. (1997).  p53-independent apoptosis induced by paclitaxel through an indirect mechanism.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA94: 9674-9678.

Dietrich, W.F., Radany, E.H., Smith, J.S., Bishop, J.M., Hanahan, D., and Lander, E.S. (1994).  Genome-wide search for loss of heterozygosity in transgenic mouse tumors reveals candidate tumor suppressor genes on chromosomes 9 and 16.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA91: 9451-9455.

Dietrich, W.F., Lander, E.S., Smith, J.S., Moser, A.R., Gould, K.A., Luongo, C., Borenstein, N., and Dove, W. (1993).  Genetic identification of Mom-1, a major modifier locus affecting Min-induced intestinal neoplasia in the mouse.  Cell 75: 631-639.

Kusumi, K., Smith, J.S., Segre, J.A., Koos, D.S., and Lander, E.S. (1993).  Construction of a large-insert yeast artificial chromosome library of the mouse genome.  Mammalian Genome4: 391-392.