Stem cells and regeneration


Stem cells and regeneration

Rhiner Lab

Many tissues including the brain contain quiescent stem cell populations, which are activated upon damage. We study recently discovered damage-responsive neural stem cells in the fruit fly, which start proliferating after traumatic brain injury and efficiently produce new neurons in the injured brain region. We want to uncover the injury signals and molecular mechanisms that activate neural stem cells and control regenerative neurogenesis. We are also interested in understanding how altered stem cell plasticity (hyperactivation or adult neural stem cell loss) impacts on tissue regeneration, aging and cancer.
To uncover regulators of stem cell activation and neural differentiation, we use highly sensitive lineage tracing tools, in combination with whole genome expression profiling, functional genetics and high-end confocal microscopy.
Moreover, we complement current efforts to understand brain regeneration at the cellular level with behavioral assays to answer fundamental questions such as how adult-born neurons integrate into pre-existing circuits and how they may contribute to recovery of impaired brain functions after injury. This setup allows us to interrogate brain restorative processes in a holistic fashion.


Main Interests

How adult stem cells can switch from being dormant to actively dividing in situations relevant for tumor formation or tissue regeneration after injury


Genetics, RNA-sequencing, Confocal microscopy, Behavioural assays

Models and Regions

Entire brain / Fruit fly


If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Christa Rhiner at the email address bellow.

Lab Webpage


Stem cells and regeneration

Know our Projects

We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive and stop the activation, proliferation and differentiation of quiescent stem cells with implications for tissue homeostasis, cancer and regeneration.


Stem cells and regeneration

Know our Team

Christa Rhiner

Christa Rhiner, PhD

Principal Investigator

Margarida Caio

Margarida Caio

Masters Student

Anabel Rodriguez Simões

Anabel Rodriguez Simões

PhD Student

Marta Neto

Marta Neto, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Carolina Alves

Carolina Alves

Research Technician

Vesna Petojevic

Vesna Petojevic

Lab Administrator


Know our Publications