Joaquin Navajas Acedo

Predoctoral Researcher

Hometown: Madrid, Spain


Education: BS in Biology (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); MS in Genetics and Cell Biology (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).


Research Interests: Joaquin is attempting to understand how, why and where cell polarity is established on the zebrafish lateral line; and how that would help us understand development and disease.



Tatjana Piotrowski, PhD

Principal Investigator

Hometown: Herrenberg, Germany


Research Interests: Dr. Piotrowski says she always liked natural science. Although that could account for her interest in fish, like many embryologists, she is simply awed by watching an embryo develop. “One of the things I love about our work is the beauty of these embryos,” she says. “It is a privilege to sit at the  microscope and see a single cell turn into an embryo—it is an incredibly aesthetic experience.”

Madeleine St. Peter

Research Technician

Hometown: Chandler, Arizona


Education: B.S. Biochemistry, Arizona State University.


Research Interests: Her interest in biological research began when she studied neural mechanisms of addiction as an undergraduate. Ever since her summer internship in the Piotrowski lab, she has been interested in studying genetic mechanisms underlying hair cell regeneration in zebrafish, particularly the BMP pathway.


Daniel Diaz


Hometown: Long Beach, California


Education: M.S. Bioinformatics and Applied Genomics Program. University of Oregon, Eugene.


Research Interests: Daniel's interest in developmental biology spawned from his experiences studying Nematostella regeneration and stem cell biology as an undergrad. After graduating, he decided to pursue the rapidly growing field of bioinformatics through the University of Oregon's bioinformatics master's program. Now he combines his love for developmental biology and technology to work towards characterizing regeneration in the zebrafish neuromast through single cell transcriptomics.

Amber Garvey

Senior Administrative Assistant

Hometown: Saint Joseph, Missouri, MO


Education: B.S. Biology/Health Science, Missouri Western State University.


Education/Interests: I truly enjoy supporting Dr. Piotrowski's research lab. It is great to work with such a dedicated group of researchers. I have always wanted to support the research sciences, particularly research that can eventually serve to improve human health, and I am happy I can support the scientific community at Stowers in my administrative role.

Sungmin Baek, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea


Education: PhD: Lymphatic System Development in Zebrafish. Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Australia

(Laboratory of Ben Hogan).


Research Interests:

Sungmin has had a long-term view of his research career in developmental biology and cell signaling. In particular, how cell-cell communication and cell fate specification are regulated and which factors orchestrate this phenomenon and translate into tissue morphogenesis. In the Piotrowski lab, his research will be focused on the identification and characterization of novel regulators which are involved in zebrafish lateral line development and regeneration.

Mark Lush, PhD

Research Specialist

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky


Education: PhD: Role of neurotrophins in development of the central nervous system. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. (Laboratory of Dr. Luis F. Parada).

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (Laboratory of Dr. Jonathan A. Raper).


Research Interests: Mark has had a long-standing interest in developmental neurobiology. Mark says, "Zebrafish have proven to be an incredibly powerful model system allowing for the in vivo study of the development of the nervous system.  My research includes two main goals; the discovery of new genes required for sensory hair cell development and regeneration and the elucidation of the cellular signaling pathways used by Schwann cells to control lateral line stem cell proliferation."


Nicolas Denans, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Hometown: La Seyne sur mer, France


Education: PhD: Hox genes and chick axis elongation. Stowers Institute for Medical Research and University of Strasbourg (laboratory of Olivier Pourquie lab). Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University (Laboratory of Maria Barna).


Research Interests: I am fascinated with understanding how cells communicate with each other to form or regenerate an organ. I use high resolution time-lapse imaging to visualize the mechanisms of cell communications that varies a lot depending on the cellular landscape. Embryonic development is the most beautiful and complex process, but if we ask the embryo nicely and smartly enough (around 1% of the time) it will reveal the truth.

Jeremy Sandler, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate


Education: PhD: Genome Activation and Regulation of Signaling in the Rapidly Dividing Drosophila Embryo. Caltech, California. (Laboratory of Angela Stathopolous).


Sumana Ghosh, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Hometown: Kolkata, India


Education: PhD: Cannabinoid receptors in the rat cochlea. Southern Illinois University, Medical School (Laboratory of Vickram Ramkunar).


Research Interest: During my doctoral studies I was first introduced to inner ear biology and learned about various pathophysiological conditions that result in hearing loss. I studied a myriad of molecular mechanisms of chemotherapeutic drug-induced hearing loss and my research focused on investigating a drug that can be used as preventative measure against cisplatin-mediated hearing loss. However, it is always not possible to get access to preventative measures prior to ototoxic insults especially in sudden hearing loss. Two major factors that contribute to hearing deficit include loss of sensory hair cells and synapses. Unfortunately, sensory hair cells can’t be spontaneously regenerated in adult mammals and this fact made me interested to study the development and regeneration of hair cells in the non-mammalian species, which can spontaneously regenerate hair cells upon ototoxic insults. I find zebrafish as a very fascinating model organism in which both the homeostasis and regeneration can be studied in “real time” in-vivo. The primary aims of my current study are to examine the epigenetic regulations of gene expression in  zebrafish primordium and if there is a difference in this regulatory mechanism(s) during hair cell regeneration.