Tatjana Piotrowski, Ph.D.

Associate 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.”

Hometown:  Yantai, China


Research Interests: Linjia is interested in molecular mechanisms of zebrafish hair cell regeneration, and application of these mechanisms in human hearing loss and disease.



Linjia Jiang, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher



Mark Lush, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky


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."





Joaquin Navajas Acedo

Predoctoral Researcher



Hometown: Madrid, Spain


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.




Julia Snyder

Laboratory Manager



Hometown: Battle Creek, Michigan


Research Interests: Her interest in developmental biology comes from wanting to know how the body normally forms and functions in order to determine what goes wrong in disease.  As lab manager, she works to maintain organization of supplies, projects, fish and coordinate with the core facilities. She also helps other members with experiments.




Jonathan Kniss

Postdoctoral Researcher



 Hometown: None (Air Force brat)


Research Interests: Jon is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that generate cell movements and organ formation. Within the zebrafish lateral line system, he is seeking to identify and characterize the stem cell population involved in hair cell regeneration and he is screening for new genes required for hair cell development and regeneration.



Agne Kozlovskaja-Gumbriene

Predoctoral Researcher




Hometown: Vilnius, Lithuania


Research Interests:  Agne is analyzing how neuromasts arrange their cells into polarized rosettes and develop into functional organs of particular shape and size.




Nina Koenecke

Postdoctoral Researcher


Education:  Nina studied at the University of Applied Sciences in Bonn-Rhine-Sieg, where she obtained a B.Sc. in Applied Biology in 2010. In the last year of the program, the University allowed her to finish her credits at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where she also performed her first research project on transcriptional regulation. For her performance, the University of Aberdeen granted her a B.Sc. in Molecular Biology with First Class Honors, giving her a double B.Sc. degree. She joined the Piotrowski lab in 2015.


Ryan Jiskra

Bioinformatics Intern


Hometown: Wheaton, Illinois


Research Interests: Ryan is currently using bioinformatics to analyze genes involved in hair cell regeneration. Through use of Single-cell RNA-Seq experimentation, he strives to identify significant genetic changes in cells as they divide and differentiate. He is also trying to figure out how many different cell types are in a neuromast.


Sydney Alexander

Research Technician





Amber Garvey

Senior Administrative Assistant



Hometown: Saint Joseph, Missouri


Education/Interests: Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in health science and a minor in Spanish. 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 deals with human health, and I am happy I can support the scientific community at Stowers in my administrative role.




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