Christian Petersen Professor

Research Summary: 

The Petersen lab studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie animal regeneration. Tissue repair processes are likely ancient, and this ability is highly exaggerated in planarians and acoels, both of which use adult pluripotent stem cells to regenerate a complex anatomy after any injury, even decapitation. Current work uses the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and the acoel Hofstenia miamia as model systems for uncovering the basis for whole-body regeneration ability.

Selected Publications:

BMP suppresses WNT to integrate patterning of orthogonal body axes in adult planarians. Clark EG, Petersen CP. PLoS Genet. 2023 Sep 20;19(9):e1010608. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010608. PMID: 37729232; PMCID: PMC10545109.

A Wnt11 and Dishevelled signaling pathway acts prior to injury to control wound polarization for the onset of planarian regeneration. Gitten DI, Petersen CP. Curr Biol. 2022 Dec 19;32(24):5262-5273.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.10.071. Epub 2022 Dec 9. PMID: 36495871; PMCID: PMC9901562.

Src acts with WNT/FGFRL signaling to pattern the planarian anteroposterior axis. Bonar NA, Gitten DI, Petersen CP. Development. 2022 Apr 1;149(7):dev200125. doi: 10.1242/dev.200125. Epub 2022 Mar 30. PMID: 35297964; PMCID: PMC8995084.

STRIPAK Limits Stem Cell Differentiation of a WNT Signaling Center to Control Planarian Axis Scaling. Schad EG, Petersen CP. Curr Biol. 2020 Jan;30(2):254-263.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.11.068. Epub 2020 Jan 9. PMID: 31928872; PMCID: PMC7153782.

Positional information specifies the site of organ regeneration and not tissue maintenance in planarians. Hill EM, Petersen CP. Elife. 2018 Mar 16;7:e33680. doi: 10.7554/eLife.33680. PMID: 29547123; PMCID: PMC5866098.

Integrin suppresses neurogenesis and regulates brain tissue assembly in planarian regeneration. Nicolle A. Bonar NA and Christian P. Petersen. 2017. Development 144(5), 784-794. 

Wnt, Ptk7, and FGFRL expression gradients control trunk positional identity in planarian regeneration. Rachel Lander and Christian P. Petersen. 2016 eLife. 2016; 5. 

The NuRD complex component p66 suppresses photoreceptor neuron regeneration in planariansConstanza Vásquez-Doorman and Christian P. Petersen. 2016. Regeneration (Oxf). 2016 Aug 18;3(3):168-78.  

Wnt/Notum spatial feedback inhibition controls neoblast differentiation to regulate reversible growth of the planarian brain. Eric M. Hill and Christian P. Petersen. 2015. Development 142(24):4217-29. 

zic-1 Expression in Planarian Neoblasts after Injury Controls Anterior Pole RegenerationConstanza Vásquez-Doorman and Christian P. Petersen. 2014. PLoS Genet. Jul 3;10(7):e1004452. 

Selected Honors:

Elizabeth D. Hay New Investigator Award from the Society for Developmental Biology, 2018

NIH Director's New Innovator Award Recipient, 2013

Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award, 2011

American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant, Northwestern University, 2011

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2007

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 2000

Goldwater Scholarship in Physical Sciences, 1998