In The Spotlight
Benjamin L. Martin Ph.D– Assistant Professor
Benjamin L. Martin, Ph.D - Assistant Professor
Ben joined the Stony Brook Faculty in January 2012. He grew up in Philadelphia, PA, where his love of scientific research was fostered by his scientist parents and through avid participation in local and international science fairs. During his undergraduate studies at Bowdoin College, Ben took a Developmental Biology course that peeked his interest in this field, and he became fascinated in the processes that determine how a single cell develops into an intricately patterned multicellular organism. He pursued this interest during graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, where he used frogs and fish to understand the molecular control of how muscle precursor cells migrate to distant parts of the embryo. After graduate school, Ben continued his west coast sojourn as a postdoc at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. There he focused on using zebrafish as a model to understand fundamental aspects of how the vertebrate body plan is established, particularly in regard to a population of stem cells that contribute to the spinal cord and musculoskeletal system as the body initially forms.
Ben’s laboratory at Stony Brook is continuing the line of research he established as a postdoc. The lab uses zebrafish as a model system to understand how stem cells are instructed to develop into specific differentiated cell types. His work takes advantage of the many incredible attributes of zebrafish, including transparent embryos that allow direct visualization of individual stem cells and the tissues they give rise to. Additionally, several of the developmental processes that Ben’s laboratory studies are also deployed during the development and progression of cancer. Thus, the work in the laboratory will provide important insight into both stem cell and cancer biology. When not in the laboratory, Ben enjoys playing soccer, gardening, and exploring the vast offerings of New York City.