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Tatjana Piotrowski

B.S., Biology, University of Tübingen, Germany
M.S., Zoology, University of Tübingen, Germany
Ph.D., Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany

Portrait of Tatjana Piotrowski

I am intrigued by how sensory cells regenerate in a sensory organ and what role developmental pathways play in that process.

Research Areas

Development and Regeneration, Evolutionary Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology

Courses Taught

Cell Dynamics, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory



Editor Annual Review of Genetics


Co-editor Annual Review of Genetics


Editorial Board Member Annual Review of Genetics


Board Member, International Zebrafish Society


Member, Editorial Board, Developmental Biology


Member, National Institutes of Health (NIH), DEV1 study section


Advisory Board, The gEAR portal – Advancing Data Sharing, Analysis and Discovery for Hearing and Balance Research.


Member, Board of Reviewing Editors, eLife.


Embryology Course Marine Biological Laboratory Woods Hole, MA, USA. Zebrafish module.


ad hoc reviewer NSF, NIH (DEV2), NIH (ICI), NIDCD, ERC, DFG, BBSRC, SNF, etc.

Tatjana Piotrowski, Ph.D., a developmental biologist, joined the Stowers Institute in 2011 as an Associate Investigator and was promoted to full Investigator in 2018.

Born in Herrenberg, Germany, Piotrowski received a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in zoology from the University of Tübingen. She completed her masters thesis with R.G. Northcutt, Ph.D., at the University of California, San Diego, where she first started studying the anatomy and evolution of the nervous system in fish. After returning to Germany, she earned a Ph.D. in the laboratory of Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Ph.D., at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Igor Dawid, Ph.D., at the National Institutes of Health’s Laboratory of Molecular Genetics in Bethesda, Maryland. In both labs she studied craniofacial and nervous system development in zebrafish.

The Piotrowski Lab aims to dissect complex developmental and regenerative processes in vivo and at high resolution. The team studies these processes both at the cellular and molecular/genomics level using the sensory lateral line of zebrafish as a relatively simple system to shed light on the molecular and cellular basis of complex vertebrate development and regeneration. The lateral line is an ideal organ to mechanistically dissect embryonic and post-embryonic processes because of 1) the accessibility of the sensory organs to direct observation and manipulation; 2) the relative simplicity of the lateral line system; 3) the similarity between lateral line hair cells and inner ear hair cells; 4) their ability to regenerate; and 5) the genetic tools available in zebrafish to molecularly dissect lateral line development.

Piotrowski and her team continue to focus on the molecular and genetic processes involved in development and regeneration, and believe that uncovering the responsible mechanisms may pave the way for engineering organ regeneration in other species like humans.

Featured Publications

An anti-inflammatory activation sequence governs mcrophage transcriptional dynamics during tissue injury.

Nicolas D, Tran TTN, Swall M, Diaz CD, Blanck J, Piotrowski T. BioRxiv (2021).

High-resolution single cell transcriptome analysis of zebrafish hair cell regeneration.

Baek S, Tran TTN, Diaz CD, Tsai Y-Y, Navajas Acedo J, Lush M, Piotrowski T. BioRxiv (2021).

Adaptive cell invasion maintains lateral line organ homeostasis in response to environmental changes.

Peloggia J, Munch D, Meneses-Giles P, Romero-Carvajal A, Lush ME, Lawson ND, McClain M, Pan YA, Piotrowski T. Dev Cell. 2021;56:1296-1312 e1297.

Comparing Sensory Organs to Define the Path for Hair Cell Regeneration

Denans N, Baek S, Piotrowski T. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2019;35:568-589.

PCP and Wnt pathway components act in parallel during zebrafish mechanosensory hair cell orientation

Navajas Acedo J, Voas MG, Alexander R, Woolley T, Unruh JR, Li H, Moens C, Piotrowski T. Nat Commun. 2019;10:3993. doi: 3910.1038/s41467-41019-12005-y.

scRNA-Seq reveals distinct stem cell populations that drive hair cell regeneration after loss of Fgf and Notch signaling

Lush ME, Diaz DC, Koenecke N, Baek S, Boldt H, St Peter MK, Gaitan-Escudero T, Romero-Carvajal A, Busch-Nentwich EM, Perera AG, Hall KE, Peak A, Haug JS, Piotrowski T.  Elife. 2019;8:e44431. doi: 44410.47554/eLife.44431.

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