UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Steve Wilson

Prof Steve Wilson

Professor of Developmental Biology

Cell & Developmental Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Jan 1998

Research summary

Our research addresses the formation of the brain and eyes using zebrafish as a model system.  One major focus is on brain asymmetry.  It is likely that the nervous systems of all bilaterally symmetric animals are left-right asymmetric with respect to processing of information and control of behaviour. However, we know very little about how asymmetries arise in development, how they are encoded in circuits and what their importance is for nervous system function. We use developmental, genetic, imaging and behavioural approaches to study habenular asymmetry in zebrafish to address these issues.  We are also studying eye formation, a process is highly conserved across vertebrates. 

Through a programme of research led by Gaia Gestri, we aim to identify new genes required for eye formation, elucidate how these genes contribute to the developmental mechanisms that underlie specification, morphogenesis and growth of the eye and explore reasons why developmental eye phenotypes show such variable penetrance and expressivity.  Finally we are also using zebrafish models to help understand the genetic and biological basis of various diseases and congenital conditions.  Among the diseases we are currently studying are early onset neurodegenerative conditions caused by imbalance of metals such as manganese.

The UCL zebrafish website will give you more details of some of our lab’s research projects and publications (www.ucl.ac.uk/zebrafish-group/)


King's College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1988
University of Leicester
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1984


Steve Wilson is Professor of Developmental Genetics and Vice-dean for Research at UCL in London.  Ever since his post-doc at the University of Michigan with Steve Easter, his research has been focused on brain development using zebrafish as a model system.  He established an independent research group in 1992 and moved to UCL in 1998 as a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, was appointed Professor of Developmental Genetics in 2002 and Vice-Dean for Research in 2007.   Steve was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2002 and to EMBO in 2005.  He is Deputy Editor in Chief for the journal Development and Chair of the Wellcome Trust Basic Science Interview Committee. He won the Remedios Caro Almeida prize in developmental neurobiology in 2009.