Mother Child W Physician

Meet Our Medical College of Wisconsin Division of Developmental Biology Team


Elena Semina, PhD

Marjorie and Joseph Heil Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences; Professor, Pediatrics; Professor, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Yi Liu, PhD
  • Jian Zhang, PhD
  • Eric Weh, PhD


Brett Deml

Brett Deml, a senior graduate student in Dr. Semina’s laboratory, joined the PhD program in Basic and Translational Sciences and IDP after four years of working in a clinical genetics lab and hopes to complete a Clinical Molecular Genetics fellowship after graduation. His project involves using whole exome sequencing to screen known genes and identify novel factors involved in anophthalmia (complete absence of the eye), microphthalmia (reduction in the size of the eye) and ocular coloboma (hole or gap in one or more structures of the eye). He successfully used TALEN Genome Editing to induce mutations in a gene of interest in zebrafish and generate a new animal model for microphthalmia and coloboma.

Kathryn Hendee

Kathryn Hendee, a graduate student in Dr. Semina's laboratory, is also a part of the PhD program in Basic and Translational Sciences and IDP. Her project focuses on study of the PITX transcription factor family and identification of novel genetic factors involved in anterior segment dysgenesis conditions. Her scientific passion is being in the lab performing experiments and making discoveries and she values the opportunity to see her work have a direct influence on improving the lives of patients.