Clifford Tabin

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Cliff Tabin
Professor Clifford Tabin ForMemRS.jpg
Cliff Tabin in 2014, portrait via the Royal Society
Clifford James Tabin

(1954-01-19) January 19, 1954 (age 66)
Known forSonic hedgehog[1]
Scientific career
ThesisActivation of the c-Ha-ras Oncogene (1984)
Doctoral advisorRobert Weinberg

Clifford James Tabin (born 1954)[11] is chairman of the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.[9][12]


Tabin was educated at the University of Chicago where he was awarded a BS in physics in 1976.[9] He went on to graduate school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was awarded a PhD in 1984 for work on the regulation of gene expression in the Ras subfamily of oncogenes supervised by Robert Weinberg based in the MIT Department of Biology.[13] In Weinberg's lab, Tabin constructed murine leukemia virus,[8] the first recombinant retrovirus that could be used as a eukaryotic vector.[12]


Following his PhD, Tabin did postdoctoral research with Douglas A. Melton at Harvard University, then moved to Massachusetts General Hospital where he worked on the molecular biology of limb development. He was appointed to the faculty in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School in 1989, and promoted to full professor in 1997 and chairman of the department in January 2007.[14][15]


As of 2014 Tabin's research[16][17][18] investigates the genetic regulation of vertebrate development,[19][20][21] combining classical methods of experimental embryology with modern molecular and genetic techniques for regulating gene expression during embryogenesis.[22][23][24]

Previously Tabin has worked on retroviruses, homeobox genes, oncogenes, developmental biology and evolution. Early in his research he investigated limb regeneration in the salamander, and described the expression of retinoic acid receptor and Hox genes in the blastema. Comparative studies by Ann Burke[25][26] in his lab showed that differences in boundaries of Hox gene expression correlated with differences in skeletal morphology.[6][27][28][29] The Tabin laboratory adjoins the laboratory of Connie Cepko.[30]

Awards and honors[edit]

Tabin was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2014. His nomination reads:

Tabin has also been awarded the Edwin Conklin Medal in 2012,[3] the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology jointly with Philip A. Beachy in 2008[4] and the NAS Award in Molecular Biology in 1999. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007[5] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. He was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Tabin is the son of Julius Tabin,[9][12][31] a nuclear physicist who worked with Enrico Fermi on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico during World War II. He has a brother, Geoff Tabin, and two children. Tabin appears as himself in a BBC Horizon programme titled Hopeful Monsters.[32]


  1. ^ Riddle, R. D.; Johnson, R. L.; Laufer, E.; Tabin, C. (1993). "Sonic hedgehog mediates the polarizing activity of the ZPA". Cell. 75 (7): 1401–16. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(93)90626-2. PMID 8269518.
  2. ^ a b "Professor Clifford Tabin ForMemRS". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2014-05-02.
  3. ^ a b Clifford Tabin Awarded Conklin Medal, Society for Developmental Biology
  4. ^ a b Anon (2008). "An Interview With... Cliff Tabin". Nature Reviews Genetics. 9 (6): 420. doi:10.1038/nrg2863. PMID 18504824.
  5. ^ a b "Clifford J. Tabin, Harvard University". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 2014-10-14.
  6. ^ a b Patrick Goymer (April 2006). "Milestone 17: (1979) First human oncogene: An important difference". Milestones in Cancer. Nature. 6: S18. doi:10.1038/nrc1859.
  7. ^ Marigo, V.; Davey, R. A.; Zuo, Y.; Cunningham, J. M.; Tabin, C. J. (1996). "Biochemical evidence that Patched is the Hedgehog receptor". Nature. 384 (6605): 176–9. doi:10.1038/384176a0. PMID 8906794.
  8. ^ a b Goff, S. P.; Tabin, C. J.; Wang, J. Y.; Weinberg, R; Baltimore, D (1982). "Transfection of fibroblasts by cloned Abelson murine leukemia virus DNA and recovery of transmissible virus by recombination with helper virus". Journal of Virology. 41 (1): 271–85. PMC 256749. PMID 6283119.
  9. ^ a b c d Mossman, K. (2009). "Profile of Clifford Tabin". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106 (21): 8407–8409. doi:10.1073/pnas.0903946106. PMC 2688980. PMID 19458049.
  10. ^ Harvey, R. P.; Tabin, C. J.; Melton, D. A. (1986). "Embryonic expression and nuclear localization of Xenopus homeobox (Xhox) gene products". The EMBO Journal. 5 (6): 1237–44. doi:10.1002/j.1460-2075.1986.tb04352.x. PMC 1166933. PMID 3015593.
  11. ^ Cliff Tabin Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Harvard Medical School
  12. ^ a b c Tabin, C (2009). "Molecular tools, classic questions - an interview with Clifford Tabin. Interviewed by Richardson, Michael K". The International Journal of Developmental Biology. 53 (5–6): 725–31. doi:10.1387/ijdb.072575mr. PMID 19557679.
  13. ^ Tabin, Clifford James (1984). Activation of the c-Ha-ras Oncogene (PhD thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. OCLC 13089293.
  14. ^ Cliff Tabin molbio seminar, Princeton University
  15. ^ Harfe, B. D.; McManus, M. T.; Mansfield, J. H.; Hornstein, E.; Tabin, C. J. (2005). "The RNaseIII enzyme Dicer is required for morphogenesis but not patterning of the vertebrate limb". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 102 (31): 10898–903. doi:10.1073/pnas.0504834102. PMC 1182454. PMID 16040801.
  16. ^ Clifford Tabin's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  17. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic
  18. ^ Clifford Tabin publications, Google Scholar
  19. ^ Parada, L. F.; Tabin, C. J.; Shih, C.; Weinberg, R. A. (1982). "Human EJ bladder carcinoma oncogene is homologue of Harvey sarcoma virus ras gene". Nature. 297 (5866): 474–8. doi:10.1038/297474a0. PMID 6283357.
  20. ^ Marigo, V.; Davey, R. A.; Zuo, Y.; Cunningham, J. M.; Tabin, C. J. (1996). "Biochemical evidence that Patched is the Hedgehog receptor". Nature. 384 (6605): 176–9. doi:10.1038/384176a0. PMID 8906794.
  21. ^ McMahon, A. P.; Ingham, P. W.; Tabin, C. J. (2003). "1 Developmental roles and clinical significance of Hedgehog signaling". Current Topics in Developmental Biology. 53: 1–114. doi:10.1016/S0070-2153(03)53002-2. ISBN 9780121531539. PMID 12509125.
  22. ^ Tabin, C. J. (1991). "Retinoids, homeoboxes, and growth factors: Toward molecular models for limb development". Cell. 66 (2): 199–217. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(91)90612-3. PMID 1677315.
  23. ^ Johnson, R. L.; Tabin, C. J. (1997). "Molecular models for vertebrate limb development". Cell. 90 (6): 979–90. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80364-5. PMID 9323126.
  24. ^ Vortkamp, A.; Lee, K.; Lanske, B.; Segre, G. V.; Kronenberg, H. M.; Tabin, C. J. (1996). "Regulation of Rate of Cartilage Differentiation by Indian Hedgehog and PTH-Related Protein". Science. 273 (5275): 613–22. doi:10.1126/science.273.5275.613. PMID 8662546.
  25. ^ Burke, A. C.; Nelson, C. E.; Morgan, B. A.; Tabin, C (1995). "Hox genes and the evolution of vertebrate axial morphology". Development. 121 (2): 333–46. PMID 7768176.
  26. ^ Burke, A. C.; Tabin, C. J. (1996). "Virally mediated misexpression of Hoxc-6 in the cervical mesoderm results in spinal nerve truncations". Developmental Biology. 178 (1): 192–7. doi:10.1006/dbio.1996.0210. PMID 8812121.
  27. ^ Morgan, B. A.; Tabin, C. J. (1993). "The role of homeobox genes in limb development". Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. 3 (4): 668–74. doi:10.1016/0959-437x(93)90105-x. PMID 7902151.
  28. ^ Tabin, C. J. (2006). "The Key to Left-Right Asymmetry". Cell. 127 (1): 27–32. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.09.018. PMID 17018270.
  29. ^ Logan, M; Pagán-Westphal, S. M.; Smith, D. M.; Paganessi, L; Tabin, C. J. (1998). "The transcription factor Pitx2 mediates situs-specific morphogenesis in response to left-right asymmetric signals". Cell. 94 (3): 307–17. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81474-9. PMID 9708733.
  30. ^ Profile of Constance L. Cepko, Ph.D, BioTechniques Vol. 36, No. 5, 2004-05-05, p. 737
  31. ^ Julius Tabin Obituary (1919-2012) Physicist helped develop atom bomb, Chicago Tribune, 2012-09-02
  32. ^ Clifford Tabin on IMDb