Zachary Smith, Ph.D.
Zachary Smith received his B.S. in Biology from M.I.T. in 2008. Inspired by the recent works of Takahashi and Yamanaka and by the first genome-wide “epigenomes” from the Broad Institute, he joined Dr. Alex Meissner’s new lab at Harvard University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology as its first employee. During his time as a Research Assistant, Zachary published research on direct reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency, including early morphological changes by live imaging and chromatin dynamics by Chromatin Immunoprecipitation followed by high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq). He also optimized emerging genome-scale technologies to study DNA methylation in precious samples and used these to understand its global dynamics during early mouse and human development. After matriculating into Harvard’s Molecules, Cells and Organisms (MCO) program in 2013, Zachary continued applying cutting edge technologies to understand global changes in genome regulation as they contribute to mammalian development, including new strategies to study the roles of chromatin regulators during implantation and gastrulation. Furthermore, he collaborated with Jonathan Weissman’s lab at UCSF to produce a novel Cas9-based molecular recorder, which can recover the historical relationships between single cells and used to construct comprehensive lineage hierarchies. These and other technologies offer new approaches for quantitative ontogeny, the population-level coordination of progenitor fields as they commit to form complex structures. Zachary received his Ph.D. in 2019 and joined the Yale Stem Cell Center and Department of Genetics as an Assistant Professor in September, 2020.