Stem cells, neural regeneration, and brain cancers


We use the freshwater planarian (Schmidtea mediterranea) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) as model organisms to study how adult stem cells make their precise cellular lineages during neural regeneration following acute injury.  We also study how this biology becomes dysregulated during the formation of brain cancers such as glioblastoma multiforme.

Our overarching goal is to understand the basic biology and molecular mechanisms of neural regeneration at a single-cell level.

Image for stem cell research in the lab
Piwi labelled cells in planar - image for neural regeneration projects in the lab
Heat map image for genomic projects in the lab


Dr. Bret Pearson

Dr. Bret Pearson

Senior Scientist

Alex Weiss, M.Sc.

Lab Technician II

Dr. Henrietta Bennett

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nicole Lindsay-Mosher

Nicole Lindsay-Mosher

PhD Student

Zaleena Akheralie

MSc Student

Mallory Wiggans

PhD Student

Chris Lee

PhD Student

Liz Woolaver

PhD Student















Sept 4, 2018:  This box started from only 40 worms in May!  Congrats to Nicole – please teach us your planarian voodoo!

Aug. 2018:  Shujun Zhu is now a Dr!

Feb, 2017:  Alex YT Lin is now a Dr!

Nov. 2017:  David DR Brown is now a Dr!

April 2017:  Smoked the Derry Lab again at their native game:  curling.

Dec, 2019:  Alyssa Molinaro is now a Dr!

Congrats to Dr. Pryszlak on his PhD!  May all of his landscaping dreams come true!



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manus image

In situ hybridization

planarian cookie

Planaria maintenance

facs protocol image

FAC sorting of stem cells

antibody staining protocol image

Antibody staining