Although loss of sensory cells in the mammalian ear and retina lead to permanent sensory deficit, some species including zebrafish have populations of stem and progenitor cells that are capable of regenerating the lost cells and restoring function to the system. While we know the identity of the cells that underlie this regeneration, the mechanisms that control these cells are not well understood. Previously, we have identified several signals that play key roles in controlling proliferation of these cells and we are currently looking at how other signaling molecules and genetic pathways interact with these signals to coordinate the stem cell fate. In addition, we also examine whether these same pathways work similarly during development of these systems or whether they represent regeneration-specific pathways. Students will learn molecular/genetic techniques, advanced microscopy techniques, and the use of pharmacological agents to manipulate key biological pathways.