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Assistant Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology

Jessica Whited

Assistant Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology

Principal Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute


Jessica Whited’s laboratory is dedicated to understanding limb regeneration in axolotl salamanders. Her work focuses on developing genetic tools to manipulate gene expression at specific points in time during limb regeneration, and exploring early signaling events following wound healing that initiate the regenerative process.

Jessica Whited earned a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Missouri. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biology from MIT, where she studied in Dr. Paul Garrity’s laboratory.  Her thesis focused on molecular mechanisms controlling the development and maintenance of cellular architectures in the Drosophila nervous system. In carrying out this research, Dr. Whited became interested in processes that may be required long after initial developmental events to ensure cells do not revert to immature behaviors, as well as processes that provoke such events in response to injury.

Dr. Whited worked in the laboratory of Dr. Cliff Tabin (Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics) as a postdoc studying total limb regeneration in axolotl salamanders. During this work, she developed several molecular tools that can be used to interrogate regenerating axolotl limbs.

In 2018 Whited joined the faculty of HSCRB, having run her research group at the Brigham Regenerative Medicine Center, BWH Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Selected Publications

Limb Regeneration Publications:

Leigh, N. D., Dunlap, G. S., Johnson, K., Mariano, R., Oshiro, R., Wong, A. Y., Bryant, D. M., Miller, B. M., Ratner, A., Chen, A., Ye, W., Haas, B. J., & Whited, J. L.  2018.  Transcriptomic landscape of the blastema niche in regenerating adult axolotl limbs at single-cell resolution.  Nature Communications, in press.

​Bryant, D. M., Sousounis, K., Payzin-Dogru, D., Bryant, S., Sandoval, A. G. W., Martinez Fernandez, J., Mariano, R., Oshiro, R., Wong, A. Y., Leigh, N. D., Johnson, K., & Whited, J. L.  2017. Identification of regenerative roadblocks by repeat deployment of limb regeneration in axolotls.  npj Regenerative Medicine, 2, 30(2017).

Johnson, K., Bateman, J., DiTommaso, T., Wong, A.Y., & Whited, J.L.  2017.  Systemic cell cycle activation is induced following complex tissue injury in axolotl.  Developmental Biology, ePub Oct 27, 2017.

Saltman, A. J., Barakat, M. K., Bryant, D. M., Brodovskaya, A., & Whited, J. L.  2017.  DiI perfusion as a method for vascular visualization in Ambystoma mexicanum.  Journal of Visualized Experiments, vol. 124.

Bryant, D. M., Sousounis, K., Farkas, J. E., Bryant, S., Thao, N., Guzikowski, A. R., Monaghan, J. R., Levin, M., & Whited, J. L.  2017.  Repeated removal of developing limb buds permanently reduces appendage size in the highly-regenerative axolotl.  Developmental Biology, 424(1)1-9.

Bryant, D. M., Johnson, K., DiTommaso, T., Tickle, T., Couger, M. B., Payzin-Dogru, D., Lee, T. J., Leigh, N. D., Kuo, T.-H., Davis, F., Bateman, J., Bryant, S., Guzikowski, A. R., Tsai, S. L., Coyne, S., Ye, W., Freeman, Jr., R. M., Peshkin, L., Tabin, C. J., Regev, A., Haas, B. J., & Whited, J. L.  2017.  A tissue-mapped axolotl de novo transcriptome enables identification of limb regeneration factors.  Cell Reports, 18(3)762-776.

Farkas, J. E., Freitas, P. D., Bryant, D. M., Whited, J. L., and Monaghan, J. R.  2016.  Neuregulin-1 signaling is essential for nerve-dependent axolotl limb regeneration.  Development, 143:2724-2731.

Kuo, T.-H., Kowalko, J. E., DiTommaso, T., Nyambi, M., Montoro, D. T., Essner, J. J., and Whited, J. L.  2015.  TALEN-mediated gene editing of the thrombospondin-1 locus in axolotl.  Regeneration, 2(1):37-43. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/reg2.29/abstract

Kuo, T.-H., and Whited, J. L.  2015.  Pseudotyped retroviruses for infecting axolotl.  Salamanders in Regeneration Research:  Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology Series.  Edited by A. Kumar and M. Simon.  Springer Press, USA.  In press.

Whited, J. L., Tsai, S. L., Beier, K. T., White, J. N., Piekarski, N., Hanken, J., Cepko, C. L., and Tabin, C. J.  2013.  Pseudotyped retroviruses for infection of axolotl in vivo and in vitro.  Development, 140(5):1137-1146.  PMC3583047.

Whited, J. L.*, Lehoczky, J. A.*, and Tabin, C. J.  2012.  Inducible genetic system for the axolotl.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 109:13662-12667.  PMC3427111. *equal contribution.

Whited, J. L., Lehoczky, J. A., Austin, C. A., and Tabin, C. J.  2011.  Dynamic expression of two thrombospondins during axolotl limb regeneration.  Developmental Dynamics, 240(5):1249-1258.  PMC3081376.