Zacharias Kontarakis

Head of the Genome Engineering and Measurement Lab

Zac received his PhD in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Crete in 2011, working with Dr. Michalis Averof on establishing genetic tools for functional developmental studies in emerging model organisms, focusing on gene trapping and site directed recombination.  He then moved to Prof. Didier Stainier Lab, initially in UCSF and later in the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung research in Germany, where he worked on non-coding RNAs during development and regeneration using new reverse genetics tools.  After delving into inconsistencies between different reverse genetic approaches, Zac’s interests shifted to more fundamental questions like why some mutations cause a phenotype while others don’t.  Zac joined the “Corn Lab” as Head of the Genome Engineering and Measurement Lab in August 2019.  Amongst his research interests are regulation of gene expression during physiology and disease, with a special focus on understanding penetrance and expressivity, two classical Genetics terms that are often collectively used to describe the black box that lies between genotype and phenotype.