Programs recipients

Wenjun Xiong 2004 - 2005 Bernice Goldblatt Fellow

2004 - 2005 Bernice Goldblatt Fellow

Wenjun XiongThe Goldblatt Fellowship is the very first fellowship that I received after I earned my undergraduate degree and, despite having received other fellowships, it is the most meaningful. First, it is privately funded by the Goldblatt family, which is a very generous thing. Second, it demonstrates that the Goldblatt family believes in young scientists—even though we have not yet made any significant scientific contributions or discoveries. Now, reflecting my scientific journey, I really believe that the early support that I received is and will always be the most precious. 

I met Mrs. Bernice Goldblatt in 2004, when I just started my PhD studies at the University of Chicago. It was a pity that I didn’t get the chance to see her again and tell her about my research and how grateful I am for the gift she has given me. I would like to say thank you to Mrs. Goldblatt and her entire family for supporting me, for believing in me, and for letting young scholars know that what we do is important.

I am now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in the lab of Connie Cepko, PhD. I specialize in genetics and developmental biology. During my PhD program, I studied the development of drosophila eye, which allowed me to explore the complexity of the conserved signaling transduction pathways during animal development. What I learned from normal development serves as the foundation for how the signaling pathways can go wrong in cancer. I am now studying the development of mouse and human retinas. I am also working on developing novel gene therapies for retinal degeneration diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa.