Wolfram Goessling, M.D., Ph.D.

Wolfram Goessling, M.D., Ph.D.

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Wolfram Goessling at HSCI Chalktalkalooza 2019

Fatty liver disease affects >90 million people in the U.S., chronic liver is the 12th leading cause of death, and liver cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. None of these conditions have promising and widely effective therapies.

Developmental signaling pathways as well as environmental influences during development govern the formation and function of stem cells, thereby holding the key to unlocking the promise of adult tissue regeneration, and to inhibiting adult disease and cancer development. In our laboratory, we use zebrafish in conjunction with murine and organoid models to investigate the regulation of endodermal progenitor cell specification, organ differentiation and regenerative and malignant growth. Our prior work has shown that we can translate our findings from the fish tank to the bedside, as clinical trials were developed based on our findings.

Based on the results of chemical genetic screens, we have focused on the impact of nuclear hormone and G protein-coupled receptor signaling. More recently, we have defined the impact of metabolic and inflammatory signaling on development, regeneration and cancer formation. We utilize high-resolution spinning disc confocal imaging, single cell RNA-sequencing and organoid techniques to define the pathway and cellular determinants of organ growth. The work in our laboratory is directly relevant for developing new treatment options for patients with chronic liver disease and liver cancer.


Dr. Goessling is the Robert H. Ebert Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School. He received his MD and doctorate from the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany. He trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, served as Chief Medical Resident, and completed fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology at the combined Dana-Farber/Partners program and in Gastroenterology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Goessling pursued his postdoctoral research with Dr. Leonard Zon at Children's Hospital, using zebrafish to characterize regulators of liver development, regeneration and cancer. He is the HMS Director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and Chief of the Gastroenterology Division at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

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