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Rachel Roberts-Galbraith

Assistant Professor

  • PhD, Vanderbilt University (2010)
  • BS, Emory University (2003)

In the Lab

After injury, an organism must mount a series of responses to minimize and — if possible — repair damage. Some organisms regenerate poorly, while others (including humans) regenerate to differing degrees depending on the tissue that is damaged. Rarely, organisms possess the ability to repair or regenerate any missing tissue. Organisms with remarkable regenerative power include planarians, which are flatworms that can regrow missing tissues after a wide range of amputations or injuries.

In the Roberts-Galbraith lab, we use planarians to understand how regeneration proceeds successfully in nature. In particular, we are interested in how a planarian regenerates its central nervous system (CNS), making new neurons and connecting them faithfully again and again. To understand how planarians successfully regenerate the CNS, we are currently pursuing projects to answer the following questions:

In the Roberts-Galbraith lab, we use planarians to understand how regeneration proceeds successfully in nature. In particular, we are interested in how a planarian regenerates its central nervous system (CNS), making new neurons and connecting them faithfully again and again. To understand how planarians successfully regenerate the CNS, we are currently pursuing projects to answer the following questions:

  1. What signals promote planarian regeneration, both generally and specifically for the CNS?
  2. How do the pluripotent stem cells within the planarian body make the decision(s) to become a neuron? Does this happen in the same way or in different ways in regeneration and in development/homeostasis?
  3. How are new neurons arranged properly in space and how do they make the correct connections with their partners?
  4. How are glial cells in the nervous system regenerated? And what role(s), if any, do they play in the regeneration of the CNS?

Visit the Roberts-Galbraith lab

Research Interest

  • Animals Models of Injury and Disease
  • Brain Injury
  • Nervous System
  • Tissue Regeneration and Repair

Links

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