Dawne Page, Ph.D.

  • Chair of Biology Department
  • Professor of Biology
  • Phone: 619.849.2204


  • B.S., Honors, Biochemistry, PA State University
  • Ph.D., Immunology, University of California, San Francisco


Post-Doctoral Fellowship - UCSD:  Immunology (1990-1994)
Research Scientist – UCSD (1994 – 2002)
Director of SEASAND, the Science Education Association of San Diego, a California Subject Matter Project (2000 - 2009)


Biology Graduate Program (Genetics; Immunology)


The zebrafish is a promising vertebrate model for the examination of immunity and disease.  Compared to rodents, the advantages of zebrafish include their small size, rapid external development, embryonic transparency, high fecundity, low cost of maintenance, a completed genome project, and a high efficiency of producing transgenic animals.  Importantly for immunological studies, zebrafish possess all of the blood cell lineages of mammals.  Moreover, several transgenic reporter lines have been created to fluorescently label and subsequently track specific populations of blood cells.  By combining fluorescent transgenesis with advanced imaging techniques, zebrafish offer unique advantages over other vertebrate models for visualizing the behavior of hematopoietic cells in living animals.

My students and I are specifically exploring B cell development and maturation in zebrafish.  B cells secrete antibodies that bind to pathogens and mark them for destruction.  Analysis of the DNA sequence of zebrafish predicts that they have two populations of B cells:  one that expresses IgM and another that expresses a unique isotype, IgZ, which has been found in other fish, but not in amphibians, birds, reptiles or mammals. Since fish are the most ancient vertebrates with an adaptive immune system, analysis of these B cell populations in zebrafish should produce insights into the evolutionary development of adaptive immunity.  Thus, in collaboration with David Traver (UCSD) and Brad Magor (University of Alberta, Canada), we have made transgenic lines in which these B cell populations are marked with fluorescent proteins.  In this way, we can both track and manipulate these populations in order to understand how and where the B cells develop in zebrafish and how and where they respond to pathogens.

Research Poster


Please click to see the various publications.